Angie Brown (Childine officer) gives expert video advice on: What is an eating disorder?; What is Bulimia?; What is Anorexia? and more...
What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder can be bulimia or anorexia nervosa, and those are the two most common ones. It's basically where food rules your life, and rather than you eat because you're hungry. It takes on an unhealthy importance in your life.
What is Bulimia?
Bulimia is binge eating. People will classically eat huge amounts of food in one go, to the extent sometimes where they actually have stomach pains. Then they will usually make themselves sick, or use laxatives to purge their body, because they feel guilty about what they've done.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is food starvation. It would start with somebody, maybe having an idea that their body is larger than it is. Despite what anybody says, they will believe that it's larger than it is, to the extent that they will not eat, and will store food away. They'll hide it, and they'll pretend to eat it. In the end, it gets to the point where they're unable to eat because the guilt and the feeling of sickness is so traumatic that it actually makes them ill. In severe cases it can kill somebody.
How does an eating disorder start?
Usually, people feel pressurized to fit into a particular image. If you look at magazines, most of the children on children's television, for example, and in magazines and in the media, are of a certain shape and if you don't fit that shape then people can feel very inadequate, and feel that they don't fit in. It starts as simply as that. The other way it can start is if a child has no power in their own life. This is something that they can control, which is how much food they take in.
Who tends to develop an eating disorder?
People who feel they don't fit in or want to fit into a particular group. If they don't fit that image, but also people who don't have any power in their lives. Food is one of the only areas where you actually can control what you put in your body or don't put in your body.
Can boys suffer from Anorexia or Bulimia too?
Yes, boys can suffer from both eating disorders. Especially nowadays where there's a real pressure on boys again to fit into this six pack ideal and to look a certain way. So boys are just as liable to have an eating disorder. They might not talk about it so easily though.