Food Is More Than Just Food: Dealing With Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders: An Overview

An eating disorder is a mental disorder defined by maladaptive eating behaviors that negatively impact a person's psychological or physical well-being. They entail complex and harmful interactions with food, eating, exercise, and body image and are severe mental and physical illnesses. The idea that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice is one misapprehension that is frequently held. In reality, eating disorders are severe, frequently fatal illnesses that are linked to substantial abnormalities in a person's eating behavior as well as associated thoughts and feelings. A preoccupation with food, one's appearance, or weight may be a sign of an eating problem.

Eating disorders are classified as "Feeding & Eating Disorders" in the DSM-5 and are "characterized by a recurrent disturbance of eating or eating-related behavior that alters food intake or absorption and materially degrades physical health or psychosocial functioning,".

Most frequently, mood and anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and issues with alcohol and other drugs co-occur with eating disorders. There is evidence that suggests that some people are more likely to develop eating disorders than others, but eating disorders can also affect people who have no family history of the problem. A cure should address any dietary, behavioral, psychological, or other medical issues. Treatment resistance, denial of an eating or weight issue, or concern about altering eating habits are all frequent. However, individuals with eating disorders can restart a healthy diet with the right medical care.