Eating Disorders vs. Disordered Eating

Eating disorders are common in society today, and include bulimia and anorexia – two of the most common eating disorders. However, we hear much less about disordered eating, which is still a very real and prevalent thing, possibly even more common than eating disorders.

What is disordered eating?

Disordered eating is the first step to an eating disorder, but many people who eat in a disordered manner might not necessarily develop an eating disorder after a period of time. Disordered eating is usually something which a person tries to do, such as calorie counting or eating too much, but it then gets out of control.

The easiest way to understand disordered eating is to think about it as an unhealthy relationship with food. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a person eats too much or eats too much of the wrong foods. It could be that a person tries too hard to eat a healthy diet, and as a result, ends up eating too little or fails to give their body the nutrients and goodness it needs. In the end, it’s all about balance, and failing to get the right balance often results in health problems, both physically and mentally.

What are eating disorders?

While they do have their similarities, eating disorders are considered psychological issues which often require treatment from a doctor or psychologist. Disorders such as anorexia involve a person believing they are overweight or obese when they are in fact a healthy weight or even underweight. Since they genuinely believe they are over the healthy weight they want to be, it is considered a serious eating disorder that can lead to chronic fatigue, poor bone health and many other health issues. Therapy is often given to patients of anorexia nervosa to help them come to terms with their real weight and appearance.

What’s the difference between eating disorders and disordered eating?

People with eating disorders usually have a seriously distorted view of what their bodies actually look like, and are more prone to abusing diet pills and other drugs to help them either lose or gain weight. Disordered eating, on the other hand, is most commonly an obsession with what a person is eating or what type of food they are eating. This could be a severely controlling diet, starving oneself altogether or binge eating. Both types of problems should be discussed with a doctor in order to find the best way forward.