This article examines the link between loneliness and eating disorders by undertaking a systematic review of the literature that links loneliness and eating disorders and through a survey of themes connecting the 2 conditions. Characteristics that have been associated with loneliness clearly relate to all eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and ednos (eating disorders that are not otherwise specified which includes binge eating disorder). Loneliness contributes to and fuels eating disorder symptoms. Negative interpersonal relationships, both real experiences and individuals’ skewed perceptions, exacerbate eating disorders and feelings of loneliness. The authors note that understanding this relationship is vital, so that clinicians can appreciate a patient’s struggles and work to target these intense emotions within the treatment setting.
Levine MP. Loneliness and eating disorders. J Psychol. 2012 Jan-Apr;146(1-2):243-57. doi: 10.1080/00223980.2011.606435. PMID: 22303623.