Eating disorders can be characterised by an unhealthy attitude to food which can take over your life and make a person ill. Individuals with an eating disorder tend to eat too much or too little and is generally obsessed with their weight, body shape and size. As a result, they tend to suppress their hunger or eat excessively and make unhealthy choices to control their body weight. Men and women of any age can get an eating disorder, but they most commonly affect young women aged 13 to 17 years old.

Types of eating disorders

The most common eating disorders are:

Anorexia nervosa

When an individual tries to keep their weight as low as possible and does not eat enough food as a result, or over-exercises beyond their body limits.


When a person eats a lot of food in a very short amount of time (binging) and then deliberately make themselves sick, or use laxatives to control their weight.

Binge eating disorder (BED)

When someone regularly loses control of their eating, eat large portions of food all at once until their feel uncomfortably full, and are then often upset or guilty.

Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED)

When your symptoms do not exactly match those of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, but are often a mix of the above symptoms and conditions.