Eating disorders are not a “diagnostic disorder”, says a psychologist who believes eating disorders are more common than people think.
Dr Anne Farmer says eating disorders can have serious psychological consequences, but should not be treated as a “disease”.
“People have an idea that if you have a food disorder you’re going to be a criminal, but you’re not,” she says.
Dr Farmer says the mental health of someone with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa is not the same as someone who has a psychiatric disorder.””
It’s the assumption that if they have a problem they’re a criminal and if they don’t they’re not.”
Dr Farmer says the mental health of someone with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa is not the same as someone who has a psychiatric disorder.
“There’s not a single person who’s a victim of anorexicism, but the mental distress is not that different,” she said.
Dr Mary Collins, a GP in Brisbane who specialises in eating disorders, says it’s important for people to be honest about their symptoms.””
You know, it’s not like you can go out and buy a bag of chips and then walk into a pub and not get judged as a criminal because you’ve got a problem.”
Dr Mary Collins, a GP in Brisbane who specialises in eating disorders, says it’s important for people to be honest about their symptoms.
“When you’re talking to people about their eating disorder symptoms, there are some things that you’re probably going to find out that are really, really difficult to talk about,” she explains.
“And I think that when people are honest with themselves about that, it can be really helpful to get to grips with the things that they’re going through and get to understand why they are in their own way and they’re really suffering from it.”‘
People can go crazy’The Government has taken steps to help people who are suffering with aneating disorders, including:The National Eating Disorders Foundation (NEF) has been established to support people with eating disorders through research and information and has a national network of support centres.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is a professional organisation that works to reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders.
Dr Collins says while there are people who struggle with eating or who experience feelings of guilt, there is also support and advice available.
“It’s just a really important thing for people, for the community, to understand what the issues are, how to get help, to know their rights, to be able to get support,” she explained.
“You don’t want to just go through life feeling like a criminal.
You want to be someone who’s able to take control of their life.”
The NEF and the RANZIPC have a website that has information about eating disorders and their causes, and offers advice and support to those struggling with them.
Dr Farmer recommends the following to people with an illness:If you or anyone you know is struggling with an anorextic or bulgarian disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Helpline on 1300 789 978.