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Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

In Western society, we are constantly surrounded by the notion that being physically thin is desireable. It is not uncommon for people to think or worry about their weight at times. However, a constant and excessive preoccupation with your weight can lead to physical and mental health issues.

When someone has an eating disorder, their weight becomes their prime focus. Typically, an eating disorder stems from feeling out of control due to painful thoughts, emotions, and experiences. The focus on losing weight is a coping mechanism to helps you feel more in control of your life. Unfortunately, this coping strategy can be very harmful, and can cause significant issues in your relationships, school, work,

The three main eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. However, there are also atypical eating disorders such as purging disorder, and night eating disorder.

Eating disorders typically begin in adolescence or young adulthood, and affect women 10 times more than men. People who develop eating disorders typically have a family member who has also struggling with an eating disorder. Other predisposing characteristics of people who develop eating disorders include lower self-esteem, poor body images, perfectionism, and difficulties managing stress in everyday life. In Canada, anorexia affects between 0.5% and 4% of women, bulimia affects between 1% and 4% of women, and binge-eating disorder affects approximately 2% of both men and women.


It might be difficult to accept help for an eating disorder. Guilt, shame, and fear are typically what stops a person from getting the help they need. However, without the proper support an eating disorder can lead to significant physical and mental health issues. With treatment, you can recover from an eating disorder and live a full and meaningful life. Treatments may include a combination of the following:

  • Individual, group, and/or family counselling
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Medication

Dalton Associates can help you find a mental health professional with expertise in treating eating disorders to help you develop the skills you need to manage challenging emotions and experiences, can teach you new and healthy coping strategies, and provide ongoing support.


Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Eating disorders.
Retrieved from

Statistics Canada. (2015). Eating disorders.
Retrieved from

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