Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Odd Eating Disorder


I am bipolar, although the symptoms appear to be under control, I now believe I also have an eating disorder, which has become very apparent over the past couple of months, but just didn’t want to admit it. I am 5’3/4″, over the course of six months I have lost 20+lbs. I already admit to myself that I do have one. I usual only eat one meal a day, dinner. I am not taking in enough calories to compensate for the burn off same. I have no hunger most of the time, eating is more a chore than anything else. I am just not hungry and forcing myself to eat is unappetizing in and of itself. I know I have to eat more regularly but can’t seem to accomplish this task. But my wakeup call came tonight. I took my pills tonight, which of course I shouldn’t do on an empty stomach and proceeded to gt nauseous and threw up some, but the worst of it was than I literally collapsed on the kitchen floor. I did not pass out, just lost it, I was so week and dizzy, I collapsed. I could get up after a few moments. I don’t fit the profiles for anorexia or bulimia, as far as I have read. I can’t identify this disorder. I do have my psych apt in July. I also had severe acid reflex. I had to have surgery for that, in which they also cut the acid lines to my stomach. Even with that, my acid levels are high and I have to take meds for that do. I will be getting a referral to the GI doc, but since I use the Veterans Medical Center, that apt can take a while. I know I need another endoscopy. But I think in actuality, this is coming from the psych stand point. I just would like to know, if others have this and what the name would be, so I can do some research on it. Like I said, I don’t wear baggy clothes to hide my shape, nor do I force myself not to eat. I don’t force myself to throw up either. I just don’t have hunger or appetite. I would appreciate any assistance. Today was the first time I have admitted to myself that I have an eating disorder. I know I need help with it because I am out of control and can’t seem to help myself.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

Your description of your eating difficulties doesn’t clearly fit the profile of the major eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating). Usually there is some shame concerning food present in these classic eating disorders – some motivation to not eat, concern with appearance or body image, etc. You’re not reporting that sort of thing. We can’t rule out the possibility that you are anorexic – but we should definitely consider the possibility that there is something besides regular anorexia at work here – some medical condition for instance. I think the best thing to do is to get yourself an appointment with a physician as soon as you can and present your weight loss and lack-of-normal-hunger symptoms to him or her. Let a physician try and figure out what is wrong. This is a potentially serious condition you are dealing with and you should do everything you can do to get that medical evaluation as soon as you can.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

  • sick in ky

    I too suffer from this. I have no want for food or anything. I'm alive but I already feel dead. I am on Zoloft and Wellbutrin that suppost to treat my depression. I'm not sure that it does because I can't force myself to eat. I'm trying to drink Boost because of lack of energy and just wanting to sleep. I am called crazy and I guess I am. I do hope you get help.

  • Faye

    Hi there, Yes - I have exactly the same problem. I've been skinny since i was very young though. I picked up weight when i started exercising. I dont care about food. I'm disinterested in it. Days can go past without me eating. I know im underweight - I know i must eat. When im stressed i dont eat. Im not hungry at all. Infact if im stressed and i do eat i feel sick. I do not have bulimia nor do i have anorexia. Personally i think we just eat when were completely happy. I have found that when im very happy and feeling confident i tend to eat more. Perhaps its a subconcious form of control were using on ourselves just like anorexics and bulimics do. We just dont have body dysmorphic syndrome, we have other issues. Who knows ? I have been to doctors and tested for everything under the sun including my thyroid gland. He says im perfectly normal and put it all down to stress. Exercise helped me. When i was active i ate more and picked up weight. Faye

  • Barrie

    I can totally relate to all the above. I am 6ft and only weigh 9.7 stone. I just havent any appetite unless im completely happy. I take sertraline for depression butr believe I am bi-polar. My mum and Dad both have bi-polar and yet the doc said I havent. I really do fit every symptom of bi-polar. I think some research needs to be done about the links of depression and eating disorders in order that we may eat healthily and in turn that surely helps the fight against depression.

  • Krista

    I feel the exact same way alot of you have described. I have no interest in food when i don't feel really happy or excited. My job if physically demanding but even with the excersise i don't feel like eating. I just turned 20 and am 5'6ft i weight about 85-90lbs and have been small my whole life. I use to suffer from depression but was taking off the medication at the beginning of 2006. I quit counselling and thought i could do it without the i am begining to wonder if i just conviced myself that i could do it. I am in the middle of a long distance relationship and when we aren't together i do't eat and when we are together i eat really good. Once i start to eat when we are together it really hurts and i think of making myself throw up because of the pain. I never have yet. I am going to contact my doctor and see what is said but i thought i would just do some rescearch first.

  • Janice

    I have dealt with this issue for a long as I can remember. I am 23 years old, 5ft 9in & aprox 90lbs. The most I have ever weighed was 99lbs. I was looking for some kind of explanation. I don't fit the "profiles" for eating disorders. I don't want to be skinny, but like some others, food has little interest to me. If I am happy - which is not that often, I can eat great, and lots too. I have never made myself vomit, I personally don't like the thought. But if I am upset, or just "here" I can go days with very little food. I have seen a doctor & he sent me to a psyctriast - who determined that I was not anorexic or bulumic - Thanks I already knew that. I have other issues I deal with - depression, aniexiety. Those have come since. I don't know what my problem is. I use to be a cutter when I was younger, I started abusing pills when I was 12years old. I have since given both up. It has been years since I've cut myself (thanks to an ex-boyfriend making me promise not to, and me keeping my word is important) - however the urge and the emotions that go along with that are still there. If anyone has any idea what my problem is, I'd listen to just about anything at this point. The only thing I can think is that it is some kind of sub-conscious control thing ? ? I don't know. Thanks for reading this.

  • Anonymous-1

    There is a potentially simple explanation for the issue this woman was speaking about. Has anyone considered the side affects of the medication she is taking for her bipolar disorder? I'm bipolar 1 depressive and three of the medications I'm on cause a severe decrease in appetite. Food often looks disgusting or I'm simply not hungry AT ALL. I know it seems like a silly question - but has no one considered this? I've had to see a nutritionist and stick to a diet plan to maintain a healthy weight because the appetite supressant qualities of my meds are so very strong. Hope this helps :D

  • Anonymous-2

    I've been on Topamax for a month and I've lost 26 lbs. I feel absolutely no hunger on this medication. I only remember to eat when I start to feel weak and shakey. Lately, I've taken to setting an alarm clock to remind me to eat, but I still have a hard time because of the nausea. Still, I'm reluctant to give up the medication because my mood swings are so well controlled. Besides, I have plenty of weight to lose after gaining so much while taking Depakote. -) I had to stop taking Depakote because of involuntary eye movements.

  • Tina

    Wellbutrin takes away your desire to eat. I am on that and Lamactil for Bi-polar. They say you should never give Wellbutrin to someone who has had an eating disorder. I am not hungry while on it. I won't come off it though because then I might feel hungry and eat and I already lost alot of weight so I'm afraid of gaining it back. many of the medications for depression/bi-polar have side effects, the most common, no appetite.

  • Alyssa B

    I have the same problem. I have been diagnosed with an NOS eating disorder which means Not Otherwise Specified. I am 19 years old. I stand 5 ft. 8 in. Weighing on average 126 pounds. I have problems eating food. Not because I want to be skinny. I know i am way too skinny and my friends get after me all the time. I forget to eat and when I do I can't seem to eat more than a few bites before I feel full. I don't have an appetite at all. I don't get hungry. I've been through therapy for it and even they can't seem to figure out what is wrong. The only problem I have that would seem to cause it is stress. I always thouught that I was the only person with an eating disorder that isn't caused by my self image. Now I have read three stories of similar cases. Not everyone wants to be skinny. Not all eating disorders are the same.


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand