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Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2022

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are complex psychological disorders that affect every aspect of a person’s functioning. Examples are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. They affect individuals physically and emotionally and impact their thoughts and behaviours.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by 3 main aspects:

  • Persistent restriction of energy intake

  • Intense fear of weight gain

  • Preoccupation with body weight, size, and shape. Self-evaluation and self-esteem become increasingly linked to these.

  • Body dysmorphia i.e. disturbed perception of body shape and size

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by:

  • Repeated episodes of binge eating

  • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode

  • Compensatory behavior for binges – such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, fasting or dieting, exercising, or using diuretics

  • Preoccupation with body weight, shape, and size.

  • Self-evaluation is influenced significantly by body weight, size, and shape

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is when a person develops a pattern of binge eating as a method of coping (Weissman, Markowitz, & Klerman, 2000)

It is characterized by:

  • Repeated episodes of binge eating

  • A sense of a lack of control over eating during the episode

Binge episodes may be underlined by:

– Eating very quickly

– Eating until feeling uncomfortably full

– Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

– Eating alone or in secret

– Feeling depressed, guilty, ashamed, or disgusted after overeating

Men and Eating Disorders

There is often a misbelief that eating disorders only affect women, however, eating disorders affect all genders and all ages. H

1 in 7 men will develop an eating disorder by the age of 40. Often men affected by eating disorders have been under-diagnosed, under-recognized, and under-treated.

Issues for men include:

- Pressures of toxic masculinity

- A focus on muscular leanness

- A drive to gain muscle weight

- Over-consumption of protein

Eating Disorder Statistics

An estimated 188,895 people in Ireland will experience

an eating disorder at some point in their lives (HSE, 2018).

It is estimated that approximately 1,757 new cases occur in Ireland each year in the 10-49 age group (HSE, 2018).

The average age of onset for anorexia nervosa is 14-18, 14-22 for bulimia nervosa, and late teens to early 20s for binge eating disorder (Lock, J. & La Via M.C., and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), 2015).

COVID-19 and Eating Disorders

COVID-19 created many risk factors/challenges such as

- Food access

- The media

- Exercise difficulties

- Increased uncertainty

- Loss of routine

Figures according to the NCP-ED (National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders) 2020 report, there was a:

- 60% increase in referrals

- 43% increase in completed assessments

- More acute cases

- Higher instances of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder

- Increased referrals in adults and males

Steps in the Recovery from an Eating Disorder

- Express your feelings and don't be afraid to reach out for help, whether it is a friend, family member, or a professional

- Learn self-help strategies such as journaling, watching a movie, reading a book, gentle exercise

- Write down daily affirmations for yourself, such as "I love myself today"

- Write down positive qualities about yourself

At Dublin Mind Clinic we offer various types of Psychotherapy & Neurofeedback Therapy. Get the support you deserve. More information on how to avail of our services at

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