What is an eating disorder?

Co-existing Disorders

Co-Existing Disorders and Mental Health Conditions
People with eating disorders often have other mental health challenges. Sometimes it is difficult to classify all the symptoms that are affecting one person. This is especially true for eating disorders, which have many signs and symptoms that overlap with other mental health conditions. It is very important for people to be assessed and treated for all their mental health challenges.

A mental health assessment usually includes questions about:

  • Anxiety:
    • Anxiety is very common in people with eating disorders. They often show signs of anxiety before they show signs of an eating disorder.
    • Learn more about anxiety in children and youth or anxiety in adults.
  • Depression:
    • There is a strong connection between eating disorders and depression. Many people with eating disorders are also depressed. Depression may develop before an eating disorder, or come after, as a result of the eating disorder. You are more likely to be depressed if you have low self-esteem and poor body image.
    • Learn more about depression in children and youth or depression in adults.
  • Self-harm:
    • Self-harm is when you hurt yourself on purpose. People may self-harm to help cope with difficult feelings or thoughts.
    • Learn more about self-harm in children and youth or self-harm in adults.
  • Drug or alcohol use:
    • Some people who have eating disorders also abuse drugs or alcohol. Learn more about drug or alcohol use in children and youth or drug or alcohol use in adults.
    • Sometimes substances are misused as a way of trying to control appetite or weight (substances may include cigarettes, amphetamines, diet pills or laxatives – click here for more information). This can be very dangerous for your health. It can also make treatment of the eating disorder more complicated.
  • Trauma:
    • Some people with eating disorders have also had some form of trauma or abuse in their lives. Trauma is a risk factor for developing a variety of psychological disorders, including eating disorders.
    • For more information on trauma and eating disorders, click here.

Resource List

  • Eating Disorders and Substance Use Programs in BC ( English )
  • Eating Disorders and Substance Use Graphic ( English )
  • When Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse Problems Collide ( English )
  • Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders ( English )
  • Alternatives to Self-harm ( English )
Types Of Disorders: How do I know if I have an eating disorder?

Your browser is out of date!

It looks like you're using an old version of Internet Explorer. For the best experience, please update your browser.

Update Internet Explorer or learn how to browse happy.

If you would like to continue to the site using your current browser, click here.

Are you in crisis? Contact the Crisis Line from anywhere in BC (no area code needed): 310-6789

Connect With Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: http://keltymentalhealth.ca/contact