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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is an eating disorder classified as having an addiction?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Lisa Hughes

    HealthShare Member

    it certainly feels like it!

  • The Butterfly Foundation was founded in August 2002 by Claire Vickery who found many ‘gaps’ in the public health system for those experiencing eating disorders. … View Profile

    Eating disorders can be classified as having an addiction. However we would not want to trivialise it to being something that you can just overcome with will power. Overcoming an eating disorder requires serious treatment and consultation from a professional and we always recommend people seeking advice from their doctor first who then will be able to refer people on to specialists.

  • 1

    Thanks

    The Butterfly Foundation was founded in August 2002 by Claire Vickery who found many ‘gaps’ in the public health system for those experiencing eating disorders. … View Profile

    Eating disorders could be seen as having an addiction of sorts. It would be an addiction to certain behaviour patterns. However we would not want to simplify it by saying people just need to have some will power to overcome an eating disorder.
    It is a serious illness and we recommend that people seek advice from their doctor who then will be able to refer patients to specialists who are trained in treating people with an eating disorder.

  • 1

    Thanks

    EatfeD (Education and Therapy for Eating Disorders). Eating Disorder Treatment Centre based on the work of Dr Anita Johnston's book “Eating in the Light of … View Profile

    Yes, eating disorders can be classified as having an addiction. Although this is not how it is usually viewed. The addiction is not like a substance addiction. ie alcohol or drugs. The addiction is seen as a ‘process’ addiction. What this means is that the addiction is not to food; it is an addiction to the behaviour around food. So for someone with Anorexia this may be food restriction, excessive dieting/exercise. For someone with Bulimia this could be the binge/purge cycle and include excessive dieting and exercise. 

    The addiction to the behaviour is very difficult to treat and this is why it is recommended that sufferers seek support from a professional with expertise in the treatment of eating disorders.

    Sue Paton
    Psychotherapist
    Director of EATFED.

  • The Butterfly Foundation was founded in August 2002 by Claire Vickery who found many ‘gaps’ in the public health system for those experiencing eating disorders. … View Profile

    We would also agree strongly with what has been posted from EATFED. The addictive behaviour is a process addiction around food and we too would recommend professional treatment.

    The Butterfly Foundation

  • Anonymous

    What type of specialist do you recommend seeing to help overcome this type of addiction?

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