The three categories of eating disorders

There are three categories of eating disorders The first is anorexia nervosa. Somebody who is suffering from anorexia tries to lose weight by restricting her food intake. She usually exercises a lot.

The second of the three categories of eating disorders is bulimia nervosa. Somebody suffering from bulimia purges after eating. Like those suffering form anorexia, she also wants to lose weight. After eating, the sufferer feels guilty, and feels that the only way to rid herself of the guilt is to purge herself of the food. So she makes herself sick.

Many of those suffering from anorexia, also suffer from bulimia, and vice versa. Both are torn between the desire for food and the desire to be thin. The third category is binge eating disorder. Those suffering from binge disorder eat large amounts of food but don't purge afterwards. Although these three categories of eating disorder are widely accepted as medical terms, I find it unhelpful to categorize them in this way.

A great deal of emphasis is placed on the differences between food related disorders. However, at the root of them all is the same problem - depression and its accompaniment - low self-esteem. Food is a tool.

Like any tool, it can be used for positive or negative effect. Those with high self esteem use the tools available to them in a productive and effective way. They spend money wisely, look after their health, and use whatever resources they have to build a safe and happy life.

 People with low self esteem find it hard to access the tools they possess within themselves, and they don't feel that they have a right to the tools external to them.

They therefore feel that they have no control. In order to have good self-esteem, it is important to know what we can control and what we can't. What we need to control in order to achieve happiness, and where it's best to let go.

For those with low self-esteem, distinguishing between these is difficult. They may feel for example, that to be happy they need to bring about a change in another person's behaviour. What they may actually need to do is move away from that person, at least psychologically. Not feeling good enough is another cause of low self esteem.

This leads to bad decision making which leads to further depression. For example, a woman with low self esteem is in a job which she does not enjoy.

She blames her lack of enjoyment on herself, and so she stays. If she were to increase her self esteem, she may decide that she is unhappy because she really wants to do something else.

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