What is Problematic Eating?
Problematic Eating is a term that describes any situation whereby a person is compromised due to an inability to eat in a way that does not cause stress physically, emotionally and/or mentally. Usually this involves an over-concern with weight and shape, or general concern about how one looks. A person with Problematic Eating will experience emotional, cognitive and/or interpersonal triggers that will lead them to act out in behaviours that are destructive around food. Emotional eating, eating in response to feelings rather than hunger, is one factor that may exist. Eating compulsively, in a way that feels ” out of control” may also be present, periodically consuming food past the point of being full.
Other versions of Problematic Eating may also surface including:
Binge Eating Disorder which refers to recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both:
a) eating in a discrete period of time, an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. and
b) the binge eating episodes are associated with three, or more, of the following:
- Eating much more rapidly than normal
- Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
- Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
- Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating.
- Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating. Marked distress regarding binge eating is also present. And the binge eating occurs, on average, at least two days a week for six months.
Orthorexia Nervosa is a term coined by Stephen Bratman, a medical doctor from the US. This suggests that an excessive focus on eating healthy foods can be taken to such lengths that it becomes an eating disorder. Some diets, or extreme dietary modifications, can signal behaviors that have drifted far from healthy or instinctive. Orthorexia yet is not an officially recognized disorder that has created some buzz in the mental health community.
Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging, or consuming a large amount of food in a short time, followed by an attempt to rid oneself of the food consumed ( purging), by vomiting, taking a laxative, diuretic, or stimulant, and/or excessive exercise, due to an extensive concern for body weight.
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy, and/or increased health problems. People are considered obese, when their body mass index, a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms, by the square of a person’s height in meters, exceeds 30 KG/M squared.