What Is An Eating Disorder?

At Oceanaire we understand that many of us have been affected by an Eating Disorder through our friends, family members, loved ones or even ourselves. Below are some definitions of different types of eating disorders and related disorders.

ANOREXIA NERVOSA: individuals with anorexia starve themselves to the point of becoming extremely thin. Both females and males who have anorexia diet obsessively, are preoccupied with food, calories, body weight, exercise and academic or career success. Many of them may suffer secondary conditions such as major depression.

BULIMIA NERVOSA: individuals with bulimia may consume large amounts of food and then purge by vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics, or over exercising. Both females and males may follow strict diets, frequent the restroom during and or immediately after meals, become very secretive, take long showers to hide purging behavior, exhibit mood swings, and oppositional behaviors.

BINGE EATING DISORDER: individuals with binge eating disorder may consume large amounts of food in a short amount of time. Typically they eat rapidly and may skip breakfast and eat larger than normal meals for lunch and dinner. They may also eat a late night meal consisting primarily of carbohydrates and sweet foods. Both females and males may talk about following strict diets yet are often unable to stop binge episodes.

RELATED DISORDERS: Individuals with eating disorders use food to manage psychological fears and emotional feelings which seem overwhelming. The manipulation of food by restriction, bingeing or purging can be a self-soothing mechanism or a distraction from disturbances in their life. While each individuals’ symptoms can be similar to others the underlying issues are unique and can vary greatly. This understanding is important because more often than not, individuals may have more problems than just an eating disorder. Problems beyond the eating disorder are known as Co-Morbid Disorders. During the initiation of treatment, a thorough assessment by an Eating Disorders Specialist can be very helpful in determining if there are co-existing disorders in-conjunction to the eating disorder.

Below is a list of several co-occurring disorders that may be addressed while in treatment:

Major Depression

Anxiety Disorders

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Generalized Anxiety


Bipolar Disorder

Self Injurious Behavior

Episodic Rages

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Sleep Disturbances

Chemical Dependency Disorders (Substance Abuse/Addiction)

Suicidal Ideation