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HealthInfo Canterbury

Health & social consequences of eating disorders

When someone has an eating disorder, their dysfunctional way of eating gives them some sort of benefit or comfort (even though others clearly see it as harmful). Their dysfunctional eating may help to soothe tension. It may help them to feel in control, or distract them from distressing emotions.

But long-term, eating disorders cause serious physical and social harm, and a person with an eating disorder becomes increasingly out of control. Eating disorders cause more physical harm and death than any other mental illnesses.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by the South Island Eating Disorders Service, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2017.

In this section

Medication abuse in eating disorders

What are the long-term effects of an eating disorder?

Page reference: 421806

Review key: HIEDI-73561