What Are Eating Disorders? PDF Print E-mail

Eating disorders are characterized by disturbed eating behaviors and are generally accompanied by a preoccupation with food and body image or shape. They include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.


Symptoms include:

  • persistent restriction of energy intake resulting in significantly low body weight (in context of what would normally be expected for age, sex, developmental trajectory and physical health)
  • intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat or persistent behaviour that interferes with weight gain (in spite of low weight)
  • disturbances in the way one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body size and shape on self-evaluation, denial of seriousness of current low body weight


Symptoms include:

  • recurrent episodes of bingeing
  • recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviours (purging by self-induced vomitting, use of laxatives, enemas or other medications, fasting or extreme dieting) in order to avoid weight gain
  • sense of being out of control of eating during binge
  • undue influence of body size and shape on self-evaluation

Binge Eating Disorder

Symptoms include:

  • recurrent episodes of binge eating or excessive eating when not physiologically hungry
  • a sense of lack of control over being able to stop eating or control what or how much is eaten
  • marked mental, emotional and/or physical distress regarding the binge eating