About Eating Disorders

Gender, social and cultural influences impact everyone. Many individuals, carers, family and loved ones have had a preoccupation with food and weight to varying degrees in their lifetime.

Recovery from Anorexia, body image and other eating issues is possible for anyone at any stage. Seeking support as early as possible is highly recommended.

At one end of the continuum we have healthy eating and acceptance of body shape and size. At the other end of the continuum is disordered eating, such as anorexia, bulimia and binge/compulsive eating.

In between sits fear of fatness, denial of appetite, emotional eating, exaggeration of body size, depression and rigid dieting.

Individuals, carers, family and loved ones can access services at Eating Disorders Queensland. You do not need a GP's referral or a formal diagnosis.

Eating Disorders Queensland sees individuals, carers, family and loved ones who identify with food restriction, binge-eating, purging, excessive exercise, or other unspecified eating issues. We work across the spectrum to support individuals, carers, family and loved ones to develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.

There are a number of recognised eating issues and disorders that over time individuals may move between, including:

Anorexia Nervosa

Characterised by significant weight loss due to restriction of food or purging, often with serious medical complications.

Individuals experience intense fear of gaining weight even though underweight. Also a distortion of body image, refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight and amenorrhoea (loss of menstrual periods over three consecutive months).

Please note an assessment by a medical practitioner and regular medical monitoring is recommended as part of your treatment.
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Bulimia Nervosa

Identified as an eating disorder where the individual has recurrent episodes of binge eating.

This can be where they either (1) eat an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in a discrete time period or (2) experience a sense of lack of control during the episode.

The individual then experiences recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviour in order to prevent weight gain. This may or may not include excessive exercise, use of laxatives, diuretics, diet pill abuse, self-induced vomiting or fasting. Individuals may or may not purge. These behaviours occur, on average, at least twice a week for three months.

Please note an assessment by a medical practitioner and regular medical monitoring is recommended as part of your treatment.
View Fact Sheet Here

Binge Eating Disorder

Similar to bulimia nervosa with frequent episodes of excessive eating but without compensatory or purging behaviours.

It is often accompanied by a sense of loss of control and, in many cases, weight gain.
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See more resources & reading here.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

The experience of being overly concerned with defects, either real or imagined, in a person’s appearance.

This occurs to the extent that the time spent thinking about or looking at their perceived defect interferes with daily functioning and can lead to avoiding social interactions.

A person experiencing BDD may be extremely critical of their mirror image, physique or self-image, even though there may be no noticeable disfigurement or defect. Those suffering from BDD most commonly feel critical of one of the following: their face, hair, skin and nose.

Though not fatal in and of itself, this disorder can result in serious distress and severe isolation and may co-occur with other mental health concerns.
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OSFED - Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders

A person with Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders (OSFED) may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders.

People with OSFED commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, and/or a distorted body image and/or overvaluation of shape and weight and/or an intense fear of gaining weight (if underweight). OSFED is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents, and affects both males and females.
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Gender and Eating Issues

Eating issues are often portrayed as an issue affecting females; however studies now suggest that up to a quarter of individuals diagnosed with eating disorders are male.

Males experience many of the same issues as females regarding body ideals and the need to be in control.
View Fact Sheet Here