What is an eating disorder?

What is an eating disorder?

Page last updated: May 2007

People with an eating disorder experience extreme disturbances in their eating behaviours and related thoughts and feelings.

Eating disorders are characterised by an overwhelming, consuming drive to be thin and a morbid fear of gaining weight and losing control over eating.

Mostly females are treated for eating disorders, although they can be experienced by males. Onset is usually during adolescence, but can also be during early adulthood.

Eating disorders can be overcome and it is important for the person to seek advice and treatment as early as possible, as eating disorders can have serious physical and psychological consequences.