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Ednos: the eating disorder that nobody talks about

Everyone has heard of anorexia and knows that it is when a person does not allow themselves to eat food and becomes dangerously underweight.

But have you heard of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)? Did you know that Bulimia Nervosa isn’t considered something that requires professional help? Did you know that Binge Eating Disorder is more common than Anorexia and Bulimia?

EDNOS is an eating disorder that may have similar symptoms to anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, but does not fit the criteria for them. This does not make them unimportant. EDNOS is a serious mental illness that can occur at any age. 40-60% of people that seek help for an eating disorder have EDNOS.

Bulimia is a vicious cycle of binge eating and purging (getting rid of the food), by self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives and diuretics or appetite suppressants and excessive exercising.

Many people with bulimia maintain a normal body weight. Because of this, the disorder can sometimes go unnoticed and untreated. On the outside the person may seem as though they are in control but on the inside they will be experiencing feelings of great shame and self-loathing.

There is no single cause of bulimia, or any eating disorder. It is a combination of many things and serious mental health issues.

According to Bodywhys, many people with bulimia tend to recover on their own, without any professional help.

“Nowadays there are many self-help programmes available. These can be used on their own or under the guidance of professionals if needed,” Bodywhys say.

“If needed.” If I was suffering from bulimia, those last two words would probably stop me from seeking help, making me feel like I don’t need it because other people can get better without it but in my opinion, throwing up food after eating it and pretending everything is okay should receive just as much help as someone not eating any food.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is when a person over-eats, usually in secret. The food is also usually eaten quickly so it is barely tasted and rarely enjoyed.

It is said that as well as psychological issues, BED is caused when someone is experiencing anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety or other negative emotions.

It is common in both men and women of all ages and is more common but not as well-known as anorexia and bulimia.

People who experience BED will most likely need the help and support of a medical professional as trying and failing to stop binge eating will trigger more feelings of self-disgust and sadness, resulting in more binge eating.

According to the Health Research Board in 2015, 12% of all admissions for under 18s to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals had a primary diagnosis of eating disorders and females accounted for 87% of all admissions of those affected by eating disorders.

If you have an eating disorder or know someone you think has an eating disorder, please seek professional help and know that you can beat this disease.