Eating disorders are mental disorders that cause an individual to have unhealthy eating and food habits.
This includes people who avoid eating in public and binge on fast food.
Eating disorders can be treatable and can go into remission, but sometimes people with an eating disorder do not get better. Food addiction or food abuse is a type of eating disorder that causes a person to eat or drink in a way that is harmful or binge or avoid certain foods.
Some people may have an eating disorder and think they have food addiction. This may be because they eat unhealthy foods or drink too much alcohol or caffeine. Other people may have an eating disorder that causes them to eat in unhealthy ways but does not cause them to binge on unhealthy foods. Common types of eating disorders that are treatable at Honey Lake Clinic are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) see https://www.honeylake.clinic/to get professional help for eating disorders.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) defines an eating disorder as “a complex mental health condition marked by a pattern of abnormal eating or an extreme liking of unhealthy foods.”
People may be diagnosed with an eating disorder if they:
- cut or starve themselves
- can’t stop eating
- can’t control their eating
- are using unhealthy coping strategies, such as binging or purging
- have lost a lot of weight and still feel hungry
- have more than three unhealthy food cravings in a day
- have been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder
NEDA also states that people may be diagnosed with eating disorders if they:
- have binge eating disorder, but are not restricting their eating
- prefer watching food than engaging in leisure or social activities
- have had eating disorders in the past
- have a feeling of hopelessness
- have had problems with their body image
- have social issues with food or eating
People who have an eating disorder are sometimes known as “food addicts.” This term is often used to describe those who are both physically and mentally addicted to unhealthy foods.
Food addiction refers to a type of eating disorder that is thought to be triggered by the consumption of too much or wrong kinds of food.
As a person with food addiction is addicted to unhealthy food, this may cause them to binge eat, overeat, or be so preoccupied with food that it impacts their everyday life. This can cause them to be consumed with food and the desire for it.
NEDA says that people with an eating disorder “who are food addicted have an obsession with food and eat when they feel happy or sad, are anxious, or hungry.” The extent of this craving may also be a concern.
However, it is important to note that not all people with an eating disorder are food addicted. People with an eating disorder may also be overeating or binging in a healthy manner.
Those who are food addicted may eat and drink in the following ways:
- feeling the need to eat
- avoiding social situations and/or having friends at meals
- eating quickly, or eating in secret
- forgoing breakfast, lunch, or dinner
- starving and bingeing on food
- or avoiding healthy food and eating junk food
NEDA also describes food addiction as a rare form of the eating disorder bulimia nervosa.
Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder that causes the individual to binge and purge in order to reduce their weight. People with bulimia nervosa are more likely to: try to hide binging and purging by eating very little choke, vomit, or hold their breath when they are eating
People with bulimia nervosa may also feel that they are unwell, unhappy, or to blame for their symptoms.
Doctors often diagnose people with bulimia nervosa if they have had at least one episode of vomiting or incontinence. If bulimia causes the person to have thoughts about suicide, they may need further help.
Bulimia nervosa may also be combined with other eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
Binge eating disorder
Binge eating disorder is defined as “eating a large amount of food in one sitting with the intention of feeling satiated, then binging or overeating in the following days or weeks.”
Binge eating disorder is when a person experiences urges to overeat. However, they do not feel full after the binge, and they usually eat an excessive amount.
People who are bingeing eat more than they normally would during the day. Some may feel guilty about their excessive consumption, or worry about gaining weight. They may also find that they are gaining weight quickly.