Borderline Disordered Eating

Borderline Disordered Eating

People with borderline disordered eating have some symptoms of eating disorders for example, excessive dieting or occasional bingeing or purging but do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder.

Meaningful statistics about borderline disordered eating are hard to come by, in part because it is difficult to define exactly when eating habits cross the line between normal and disordered. However, many experts feel that the majority of Americans, particularly women, have at least some unhealthy attitudes and behaviors in relation to food and self-image. Concerns about weight and dieting are so common they are considered culturally normal for many Americans.

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Ideally, our relationship to food should be a happy one. The biological urge to satisfy hunger is one of our most basic drives, and eating is associated with many pleasurable sensations. For some of us, food triggers pleasant memories of good times, family, holidays, and fun. But for too many people, food is a source of anguish rather than pleasure. Eating results in feelings of guilt and self-loathing rather than satisfaction, causing tremendous disruption in the lives of affected individuals.

How do you know if you have disordered eating habits? When thoughts about weight and food dominate your life, you have a problem. If you’re convinced that your worth as a person hinges on how you look and how much you weigh, it’s time to get help. Self-induced vomiting or laxative use after meals, even if only once in a while, is reason for concern. Do you feel compelled to overexercise to compensate for what you’ve eaten? Do you routinely restrict your food intake and sometimes eat nothing in an effort to feel more in control? These are all danger signs and could mean that you are developing a serious problem. Lab 9.3 can help you determine whether you are at risk for an eating disorder.

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