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What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is an unhealthy eating habit that threatens the wellbeing, and in some cases, the life of an individual.  There are three major categories of eating disorders.

Anorexia Nervosa – Due to a distorted body image, a person reduces food consumption drastically, and may exercise compulsively. This individual may see themselves as overweight despite being dangerously underweight.

Bulimia Nervosa – An individual purges the body of food after eating, via one or a combination of methods, including exercising vigorously, vomiting, or taking laxatives. The individual experiences repeated episodes of binging and purging.

Binge Eating – This eating disorder features frequent bouts of eating excessively, quite often in secret. Binge eating is usually a coping mechanism for another emotional issue.

Causes of an Eating Disorder

The causes of these disorders are wide-ranging. However, there are some personality traits that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Low self-esteem and poor body image are major factors. Perfectionist tendencies may contribute to Anorexia Nervosa, while anxiety and impulsivity can lend themselves to Bulimia Nervosa. A negative or stressful event in one’s life, such as abuse, death, or loss can also trigger an eating disorder.

How can Dalton Associates Help?

Psychotherapy is crucial in overcoming an eating disorder. In therapy, the client and therapist work together to target destructive thought patterns and underlying issues that are contributing to unhealthy eating habits. The client learns healthier ways to cope with life’s stressors. At times, marital and family therapy may be helpful in strengthening the person’s support system. Dalton Associates offers psychotherapy in your community, and we have many therapists who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders.


American Psychological Association (2013). Help Center – Eating Disorders. Retrieved from:

Canadian Mental Health Association (2013). Mental Health – Facts about Eating Disorders. Retrieved from:

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