Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses. Anyone, no matter what their age, gender, ethnicity or background, can develop one. Some examples of eating disorders include avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), bulimia, binge eating disorder, and anorexia.
There’s no single cause and people might not have all symptoms for any one eating disorder. Many people are diagnosed with “other specified feeding or eating disorder” (OSFED), which means that their symptoms don’t exactly match what doctors check for to diagnose binge eating disorder, anorexia, or bulimia, but doesn’t mean that it’s not still very serious.
It’s also possible for someone’s symptoms, and therefore their diagnosis, to change over time. For example, someone could have anorexia, but their symptoms could later change to fit with a diagnosis of bulimia.
If you are wondering whether you have an eating disorder, this may bring up lots of questions, thoughts, and feelings. It may also be that other people are telling you that they are concerned about you or think you have an eating disorder, but you don’t agree. This can be difficult and cause conflict with those around you. Our Helpline team are here to discuss anything you are concerned about or would like to learn more about.