What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. As with other mental health issues, eating disorders often start in adolescence or early adulthood, which means that they can and do affect people who are attending university1.
Eating disorders are complex and related to many different factors including how you feel about food, how you cope with emotions, and how you feel about yourself1.
1 Eating Disorders (2010), HeretoHelp
Eating disorders myths and facts
There are some common myths about eating disorders that can get in the way of how we understand them and whether someone will reach out for help.
Myth: Eating disorders are a female problem.
Fact: About 90% of people diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia are women. However, a significant number of men struggle with eating disorders and body image issues. Binge-eating disorder affects men and women equally.
Myth: You can tell if a person has an eating disorder simply by appearance.
Fact: Most people with eating disorders look like everyone else.
Myth: Purging is only throwing up.
Fact: Many people attempt to compensate for overeating by using diuretics (water pills), amphetamines, laxatives, or excessive/compulsive exercise.
Myth: Eating disorders are "dieting gone bad."
Fact: Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses with potentially serious consequences. Food and weight issues are often symptoms of a more complicated underlying problem.