1 in 20 people have an eating disorder at some point in their lives, the majority between the ages of 16 and 25. Eating Disorders, also known as 'Disordered Eating', encompasses a wide range of different conditions, including binge-eating, bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive over-eating, although it is more often the case that an individual with an eating disorder does not clearly identify with any of these categories but experiences elements of all three categories. The technical term for this is EDNOS - eating disorder not otherwise specified. This is the most common type of eating difficulty.
Eating Disorders (EDs) are in no way a 'lifestyle choice', 'self indulgence' or solely prompted by the desire to be thin, and often an individual grappling with eating disorders is not clearly recognisable as such in their outwards appearance. EDs can have many causes and are often correlated with deeper underlying issues such as stress, guilt, low self-esteem, depression, a sense of loss or feeling of lack of control. To the outside world, people grappling with eating disorders can be extremely competent and composed, and excel in their day-to-day lives; it is often this which makes it hard to recognise or admit the problem, either to yourself or to others, and letting go of this coping mechanism may be a frightening step.
This section contains a number of resources that may be of use to you:
- Sources of support for students experiencing an eating disorder
- Eating Disorders Support and Self help group
- Sources of information and resources
- Getting help and treatment: Guide and directory from b-eat (the national eating disorders charity)
You can always contact any Student Advice Service advice officer, for support, more information or if you have any questions.
If you are worried about a friend, the following resources may be useful: