Eating Disorders

What is an eating disorder?

People who use the control of food to cope with their feelings and situations have an eating disorder.

Anyone can develop an eating disorder or disorderd eating, regardless of their background, age, ethnicity or gender.

Unhealthy eating behaviours may include eating too little or too much and worrying about your body shape or weight.

Examples include: 

  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Anorexia

There’s no one cause and individuals may not present for a particular diagnosed eating disorder.

Many people’s symptoms don’t exactly match what doctors check for.

Often people receive the diagnosis of ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ (OSFED), which still needs to be taken very seriously.

Over time symptoms can change, and therefore a diagnosis can too. For example, someone diagnosed with anorexia, could later fit with a diagnosis of bulimia.

Do I have an eating disorder or disordered eating?

If you have landed on this page, you may be wondering if you have an eating disorder or disordered eating.

You may have lots of questions you’d like to ask someone who can help and you may wish to discuss your thoughts and feelings.

Also, if other people say they’re concerned about you or think you have an eating disorder, and you disagree. This may be causing conflict and you may wish to talk this over too.

With professional treatment, most people will recover from an eating disorder.

Possible signs of Eating Disorders:
  • Obsession about food/types of food
  • Taking control, adopting strict routines, phobias around food
  • Conflict triggered around meals or secrecy around food
  • Finding it hard to switch eating off or on
  • Relationships with those around you are being affected
  • Impacts on physical health i.e. teeth, skin, hair, organs, hormones, blood sugar levels etc.
  • Mental health-anxiety, depression
  • Losing enjoyment of food and social life
  • Can be life-threatening
Possible signs of Disordered Eating may include:
  • Emotional eating
  • Skipping meals
  • On and off diets or Yo-yo dieting
  • Guilty feelings around food
  • Not eating certain food groups
  • Not seeing food as important
  • Thinking about food a lot
  • Worrying about how you look
  • Not obsessive or affecting health
  • Not affecting those around them

How we can help

We run a Peer Support Network (PSN) for people aged 18+ with Eating Difficulties (Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating) and their carers/supporters, who live in Southampton and surrounding areas.

It’s a FREE support network and community for people who would like to talk with others who have similar lived experience.

It can help by offering practical support in in-person groups, online support, or 1-2-1 buddying in the community. Peer Supporters share top tips on how to cope, as well as provide tools, resources, information, and signposting to professional support.

Most importantly, connect with others who understand and have similar lived experience. You can find out more about the network HERE.

More help and support

If you or anyone else is struggling and you would like to speak to someone, the charity Beating Eating Disorders has a dedicated helpline.

If you, or someone else is in immediate danger, please contact 999 or the Samaritans on 116 123.

FREE Southampton Peer Support Network for people with Eating Difficulties