When Disordered Eating Becomes an Eating Disorder


Our society sends many messages about how we should eat. Unfortunately, sometimes the quest to "eat healthy" becomes disordered eating. And sometimes disordered eating turns into a serious eating disorder diagnosis. Here's the breakdown to help you understand the difference.*



Another way to tell if your relationship with food has become a serious problem is to assess the extent of the problem:

  • Concentration and ability to focus: Do thoughts about food, body, and exercise prevent concentration or impede performance at work or school?

  • Social life: Is socializing restricted because it might require eating in a restaurant, consumption of foods that are scary or uncomfortable, or disruption of exercise routine?

  • Coping skills: Is food consumption and/or restriction used as way to manage life’s problems or cope with stressors?

  • Discomfort or anxiety: How much discomfort do thoughts of food and body cause? Are these thoughts hard to shake and anxiety provoking?

***This is meant to give you an idea about whether your relationship with food is problematic. Of course, this is no substitute for getting an accurate diagnosis from a mental health professional, so seek professional help if you have concerns. :)

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Anderson, Marci. (2015, February 25). Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/eating-disorders/what-is-disordered-eating

Gottlieb, Carrie. (2014, February 23). Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201402/disordered-eating-or-eating-disorder-what-s-the

#eatingdisorder #diagnosis #skills #exercise #bodyimage

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