a blog about mental illness and community

Facts and stats are useful, but it’s more powerful to put a human face on experiences of mental illness.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to eating disorders.

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration estimates that up to 9% of the Australian population suffers from an eating disorder.

ED infographic

Source: National Eating Disorders Collaboration

But who are these people?

What do they look like? (For the record, most people with an eating disorder fall within the healthy weight range.)

How has their illness affected their relationships, financial status, physical health and hopes for the future?

In my Googling and YouTubing, I’ve found a number of excellent articles, videos and interviews that address these questions.

Thin is a documentary by US photojournalist Lauren Greenfield. The film focuses on the girls and women who populate an inpatient eating disorders ward.

The BBC documentary Living on Air is a bit dated, but it still conveys the emotional agony of living with anorexia and bulimia.

Then there’s a couple of intense, well-written articles on the subject of eating disorders on The Guardian’s website.

You can read ‘The truth about size zero’ here, and ‘What health professionals should know about eating disorders’ here.

Something that bugs me is that binge-eating disorder and EDNOS (eating disorder not-otherwise-specified) are often left off the radar.

People who are overweight, obese, or do not fit into the diagnostic criteria for anorexia or bulimia still suffer from a legitimate mental illness and deserve recognition.

As such, I was excited to find an informative video that focuses on one of the ‘lesser-known’ eating disorders.

These videos and articles are a good starting point for understanding eating disorders and identifying with the individuals they affect.

What are your thoughts?


Comments on: "Eating disorders on the web" (3)

  1. Clare said:

    Reasonably on topic : I’ve often wondered what constitutes, not necessarily an eating disorder as such, but simply disordered eating.. and how fine a line it is between what’s considered disordered and what are simply bad habits or quirks. For example, a lot of people I know skip breakfast, one person I know loves sweets and will sometimes eat nothing but chocolate for ‘dinner’, and another friend is obsessive about only ever eating organic foods. Curious to know your thoughts given you’re obviously quite knowledgeable in this area. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment. I think there can be a very fine line between disordered eating and what is diagnosed as a full-blown eating disorder.
    The way I tend to look at it is on a spectrum – i.e. on one end there’s the small minority that meets the diagnostic criteria for anorexia (about 1% of the population), while on the other end of the spectrum there’s probably an equally small minority of people who have a totally healthy, non-pathological relationship with food and weight. Everyone else falls in between these poles, displaying varying degrees of healthy or disordered eating habits and healthy or disordered body image etc.
    Like you, I know a lot of people who display some odd or disordered eating behaviours. It scares me just how pervasive ‘dieting culture’ is in society and the fact that, to an extent, an unhealthy relationship to food and the body has been normalised.
    Anyway, here’s a good website that might help clarify the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders: http://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/eating-disorders/disordered-eating-a-dieting

  3. Thanks! Your thoughts/insight and the above link have certainly answered my questions!

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