Support - Understanding - Change

About eating issues

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While eating issues are being increasingly discussed in our community, there is still quite a bit of misinformation out there. 

Why ‘eating issue’ and not ‘eating disorder’?

Isis prefers to use the word ‘issue’ rather than ‘disorder’ because an issue is something to be discussed, not by just one person and their therapist, but also amongst families, the media, politicians and the community in general.  More about Isis: About us

What do we know about eating issues?
  •     the common age of onset is during adolescence
  •     there are no known biological causes of eating issues
  •     eating issues occur predominately within Western countries


What causes an eating issue?

As mentioned above, there is no known biological cause for an eating issue.  Despite this, the past has seen eating issues primarily being responded to as a medical problem.  It is now widely recognised that eating issues are caused by a complex interplay of individual, family, and social factors.

5 key factors can contribute to - and maintain - eating issues. 

These are:

1.    Society & culture
       Culture, community attitudes, influence of schools, workplaces, religion, etc.

2.    Gender
       Influence of perceptions, expectations and experiences around being female/male, or not fitting into gendered     

3.    Family & personal relationships
       Influences from family, domestic situation, genetics, relationships, expectations and experiences etc.

4.    Individual 
       of your personality, thinking, your body, perfectionism, personal experiences etc.

5.    A complex interaction
       of some or all of the above factors

Why does someone have an eating issue?

The eating issue can be an attempt to deal with and address a larger and more substantial trauma or conflict.  Through listening to those who come to us for help, we hear them talk about their lives, their difficulties with food, and their sense of themselves. 

Each story is unique, yet there are some important common areas:
1.    There is a fundamental and deep-seated loss of self-esteem
2.    They experience loss of power and control over their lives
3.    Contradictions and conflicts exist in their lives

About women and eating issues

The majority of those identified with eating issues have been women.  This is why Isis has a strong history of feminism and helping women in particular with eating issues.    See: Feminism and eating issues


Would you like more information about eating issues?

Contact us for our free eating issues info pack - or see our faq page or


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