Disordered eating
Resources and courses / Resources / Disordered eating

Disordered eating

Worried that a child you know might be struggling with an eating disorder? Looking for support? 

Please sign up here to an email series containing our toolkit helping you spot the signs of an eating disorder and sharing how to support children in your care. 

Our disordered eating toolkit

Our disordered eating toolkit delivered direct to your inbox includes clear animations and advice from a GP, Counsellor and a parent. 

It also gives you access to animated videos and a printable handbook. 

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are alarmingly common- there are an estimated 1.2 million people currently living with an eating problem in the UK.

For parents of children with eating problems, it can be an incredibly worrying and difficult time. You may feel frustrated and helpless, and desperate to help your child.

Types of eating disorder

There are many types of eating disorders, with different symptoms.

Anorexia Nervosa

The most well-known is anorexia nervosa, in which sufferers aim to restrict their food intake to lose weight. A person with anorexia has an intense fear of weight gain.

Bulimia Nervosa 

Bulimia nervosa is a disorder which causes sufferers to purge (vomit) on purpose to rid themselves of the food they have eaten. Bulimics sometimes binge eat before purging- which can also involve using laxatives.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder causes sufferers to consume a large amount of food, which can then cause the sufferer to feel guilty or ashamed. OSFED (an abbreviation of other specified feeding or eating disorder) is a term covering eating disorders which don’t fall specifically into one of the above categories- and sufferers may display symptoms of different disorders at once.

The root of the matter

Eating disorders aren’t always about not gaining weight, losing weight or body shape. The root cause of an eating problem may be trauma, a perfectionist streak, or life experiences. It isn’t always straightforward to spot why a child is developing an issue with food.

The cause may be a mixture of different circumstances, including anxiety, depression, low self- esteem, social influences, or genetics. It’s thought that eating disorders may be on the rise due to the impact of social media on teenagers and young adults, as they are continually shown images of thin or attractive people, which can lead to a distorted body image.

Free disordered eating toolkit

If you haven’t already signed up use the button below for our Disordered Eating Toolkit, showing you how to spot the signs of an eating disorder and how to support your child.

Sign-up to access our disordered eating toolkit

* indicates required

If you need urgent help for yourself or someone else, get advice from 111 or ask for an urgent GP appointment. If someone’s life is at risk call 999 or go directly to A&E.

For more support from trained volunteers contact the SamaritansChildline or Beat.