One way to describe an eating disorder is like this: it is a psychological phenomenon that manifests in nutritional symptoms and results in medical consequences. An eating disorder can look like it's all about food and weight. In reality, though, it is primarily about psychological/emotional things like: self esteem, anxiety, depression, fear, control/power, and relationship. An eating disorder may start out as "a way to get healthy" but it doesn't stay like that for long. It rather quickly can turn into a major strategy for coping with life, making people feel like they're in control of their lives, and muting emotions so they don't seem so intense.
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