Having an eating disorder is not simply about eating too little or too much on occasion – it goes deeper than that. If your life is centered around and controlled by food, and you either have negative thoughts and strong fears about food and the possibility of weight gain, or you treat food as a tool to feel comforted and soothe your feelings, you may have an eating disorder.
An eating disorder is a seriousillness that distorts a person’s eating behavior, making them obsess about food, their body weight, and shape, or it makes people turn to food to alter their mood. This leads to people either consuming too much food or too little of it, with emotional, physical, and mental ramifications.
Eating food to alter one’s mood can lead to poor emotional health while consuming more food than you need can lead to physical health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, consuming too little food means that the body is not getting all the nutrients it needs to be healthy and function well. As a result of malnutrition, the body begins to break down because it simply cannot cope.
The exact causes of eating disorders are not fully known or understood at present, but the existing research suggests that a combination of social, biological, genetic, behavioral, and psychological factors all play a role and can increase the risk of a person developing an eating disorder.