Having an eating disorder is different from being on a diet. An eating disorder is an illness defined by abnormal eating habits that harm an individual’s physical and mental health. Eating disorders can involve consuming either too little or too much food. A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating slightly smaller or larger amounts of food, but the urge to eat less or more becomes overpowering and spirals out of control.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are the most common types of eating disorders. Although most frequently diagnosed in women, men can also suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek treatment from a mental health professional as soon as possible.