YHS Cares

York High School's dedicated website to pupil health and wellbeing.

Eating Disorders

  • Definition
    Eating disorders are characterised by an unusual attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour towards food. A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health.

    Eating disorders can happen to boys and girls of all backgrounds and cultures. They are often blamed on the social pressure to be thin, as young people in particular feel they should look a certain way. However, the causes are more complex and can be brought on by traumatic or stressful experiences as a way of coping with feelings or situations that are making you unhappy, angry, depressed or anxious.

    What begins as trying to lose weight by dieting or skipping meals can turn into obsessively trying to control your weight. Unhappiness about one’s appearance or feeling the need to diet or exercise is common; an eating disorder is the extreme.

    Eating disorders are serious but treatable conditions. Untreated eating disorders can lead to severe medical complications including kidney damage, liver damage, infertility and heart failure. Anorexia has the highest morality rate of any psychiatric disorder.
  • Signs
    There are different types of eating disorders and the signs and symptoms can vary. Commonly known eating disorders are;

    Anorexia Nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example by starving themselves or exercising excessively.
    Bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight.
    Binge Eating Disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time.

    Only a medical professional can diagnose the type of disorder but you can check out some of the signs of eating disorders below:

    Recent weight loss or regular changes in weight
    Constant thoughts about food, body shape or weight
    Believing you are fat when others say you are thin
    Feeling food dominates your life
    Thoughts about how to avoid meals reduce calories
    Regularly weighing yourself, measuring yourself or looking at your body in the mirror, excessive exercising
    Often feeling tired, cold, faint or dizzy
    Being secretive about food, hiding it, pretending to have eaten, avoiding eating with others
    Making yourself vomit or using laxatives
    Irregular periods or periods stopping completely (Girls)
    Using pro-eating disorder websites

    Do I have an eating disorder?

    Doctors and GPS will use a questionnaire to help identify people who may have an eating disorder.

    Do you make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
    Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
    Have you recently lost more than one stone in a three month period?
    Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
    Would you say food dominates your life?

    If you answer ‘yes’ to two or more of these questions, you may have an eating disorder and must speak to your doctor and GP
  • Advice
    If you suspect you have an eating disorder speak to a GP immediately. It is important to get help as soon as you suspect an eating disorder. The sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.

    If you suspect someone you know has an eating problem, but they will not see their GP, then tell a teacher or an adult that can help.
  • Where can I get help?
    In school you can talk to the following people:
    A friend
    Your Tutor
    Head of House
    Miss Masterman – Pupil Welfare Officer
    Noreen Reid – Pastoral Mentor (Drop in sessions Tuesday & Wednesday during break and lunchtime)

    In the community
    Talk to your parents or GP

    BEAT – 0345 634 1414
    Samaritans – 116 123