Having an Eating Disorder is much more than just being on a diet. An Eating Disorder is an illness that permiates all aspects of each sufferer's life, is caused by a variety of emotional factors and influences, and has profound effects on the people suffering and their loved ones.
Dieting is about losing a little bit of weight in a healthy way.
Eating Disorders are about trying to make your whole life better through food and eating (or lack of).
Dieting is about losing a bit of weight and doing it healthfully.
Eating Disorders are about how life won't be good until a bit (or a lot) of weight is lost, and there's no concern for what kind of damage you do to yourself to get there.
Dieting is about losing some weight in a healthy way so how you feel on the outside will match how good you already feel on the inside.
Eating Disorders are about being convinced that your whole self-esteem is hinged on what you weigh and how you look.
Dieting is about attempting to control your weight a bit better.
Eating Disorders are about attempting to control your life and emotions through food/lack of food -- and are a huge neon sign saying "look how out of control I really feel"
Dieting is about losing some weight.
Eating Disorders are about everything going on in life -- stress, coping, pain, anger, acceptance, validation, confusion, fear -- cleverly (or not so cleverly) hidden behind phrases like "I'm just on a diet".
The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem
In people who suffer from Eating Disorders it is not uncommon to find other associated psychological disorders that co-exist with their Anorexia, Bulimia, Compulsive Overeating or Binge Eating Disorder. In some cases, their Eating Disorder is a secondary symptom to an underlying psychological disorder, and in other cases, the psychological disorder may be secondary to the Eating Disorder. Men and women may also suffer from both an Eating Disorder and other mental illness side-by-side... or they can suffer from an Eating Disorder and have little or no signs of an additional mental illness (Note: The longer a person suffers, the more probable that they may be dealing with depression or anxiety as well). It is important to the recovery process and eating disorder treatment that all these issues are addressed, and that a proper diagnosis be determined.