We all need food to live: it is an important/needy part of our lives. In times of stress however, our “normal” eating patterns often change.
We may develop cravings for certain foods, lose our appetite or eat more for comfort. But it usually RESOLVES once the problem is overcome.
However for some people life may become centered around food. Whether denying it to themselves, eating or thinking about it, food becomes like an addiction and starts dominating their lives- everyone’s experience is different.
Eating distress is viewed on the one hand as a serious psychological problem – needing psychiatric treatment, whilst on the other, the media simply sees it as “slimmers disease”, but it isn’t as simple as this and may well have many different causes as well as the effects.
Compulsive eating usually occurs when the person is feeling distressed, anxious or angry A specific food can act as a ‘trigger’ – chocolate or high sugar items. But this is not always the case.
A large majority of people-especially women, at some point in their lives are unhappy with their size or are pressured by society to question how they are and the way they look. Recent estimates suggest eating distress is affecting more and more people (an estimated 60,000 to 200,000 in the UK alone).
Generally those experiencing eating distress are high achievers and perfectionists. Yet they may have low esteem and self worth.
(Taken in part from the Mind ‘understanding’ series of leaflets)