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  • Writer's pictureJolie Bilodeau

Dealing with eating and other disorders simultaneously

Although not the case for everyone, a large percentage of people who are diagnosed with an eating disorder have also been diagnosed with another mental health disorder. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health reveals that 56% of adults with anorexia nervosa, 95% of adults with bulimia nervosa, and 79% of adults with binge eating disorder suffer from another disorder. In patients diagnosed with an eating disorder, the most common co-occuring types disorders that appear are anxiety disorders and mood disorders. This includes generalized anxiety disorder, major depression disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. There are different ways to address each different type of problem as they can affect eating disorders in different ways.

Anxiety disorders typically involve an acute feeling of dread and fear over almost anything. People with anxiety commonly overthink and obsess over simple things. There may also be a fear of judgment because of how people will perceive them or there may be a feeling of dread as though something horrible is about to occur. Either way, these feelings of overthinking may contribute to negative thoughts around food, weight, and body image. It can be easy for people who suffer from anxiety to develop eating problems while trying to become skinnier in order to fit the modern beauty standard. Individuals with anxiety can also end up using food as a way to escape from reality which may end up contributing to a poor self-image which can lead to eating disorders.

Major depression disorder occurs when someone is feeling depressed for a long period of time. This usually results in a loss of interests and a feeling of hopelessness which will usually cause someone to distance themselves from others and to stop taking care of themselves. People who suffer from depression usually find themselves with no appetite and very little interest in food at all, which can lead to issues around food and even eating disorders.

Possible methods to help:

- Telling a trusted friend/family member

- Talking to a professional

- Therapy

- Medication (talk to a psychiatrist)

- Quitting substances & alcohol

- Exercising or joining a team

- Spending more time with loved ones

- Focusing on a creative hobby

- Challenging yourself

- Meditation

- Self-care (skincare, bubble bath, sunbathing, reading a book, etc.)

- Sleeping & napping

Some things to remember:

You are in control. When feeling overwhelmed, pause, take a deep breath and count to three. As commonly as people suggest this, it actually works so just give it a shot.

Food will not hurt you. Your perception of food is what will hurt you, not the food itself.

Try and notice when you are thinking "eating disorder thoughts." Eventually, you may be able to notice them and realize that those thoughts aren't coming from a good place and that you should pay them no attention.

If in doubt, always be on the safe side. If you think that you may be at risk of serious health issues because of an eating disorder, tell someone. It could save your life.


[Ref1]: “Eating Disorders.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

[Ref2]: Rittenhouse, Margot. “Dual Diagnosis & Co-Occurring Disorders.” Eating Disorder Hope, 23 Feb. 2023,

[Ref3]: Neziroglu, Fugen. “The Relationship between Eating Disorders and OCD Part of the Spectrum.” International OCD Foundation, 2009,

[Ref4]: Bhatia, Richa. “Anxiety, Depression, & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” National Eating Disorders Association, 7 Aug. 2018,

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