Thursday, April 11, 2024

What Are The Different Types Of Eating Disorders

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Here Are Some Signs That Someone Might Have Bulimia Nervosa:

  • Fearful of gaining weight
  • Putting on or losing weight really quickly
  • Having a distorted body image or low self-esteem
  • Feeling depressed, anxious or guilty – especially at meal times
  • Obsessing over eating, food, body shape and weight
  • Fasting, counting calories or avoiding food groups
  • Over-exercising or continuing to exercise when sick or injured
  • Vomiting, misusing laxatives or appetite suppressants
  • Going to the bathroom during or shortly after meals
  • Buying lots of food and hiding it
  • Using drugs inappropriately to control weight
  • Eating in private and avoiding meals with others
  • Sensitive to comments about food, weight, body shape or exercise
  • Physical signs like tooth decay, feeling tired, dizziness

Other Specified Feeding Or Eating Disorders

OSFED is a category that was developed for people who don’t meet the strict diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa but still have a significant eating disorder, NEDA explains. Some of these disorders include:

Atypical anorexia

People with atypical anorexia restrict their food intake and may have lost a lot of weight, but not to the point where they are at a minimally normal weight . As Vazzana explains it, maybe they started off as overweight or obese but are not considered underweight from a medical standpoint, even after losing 20, 30, or 40 pounds; still, they have all the other symptoms of anorexia nervosa.

“A lot of times people think that’s not necessarily problematic,” Vazzana observes. “But we actually know it’s still associated with a really high rate of distress, with high levels of impairment with how to function in daily life,” she says. “They’re still malnourished based on where they might have normally been, only they’re not underweight. It’s associated with high rates of suicidality, even, and feelings of guilt and shame.”

Purging disorder

Night eating syndrome

Night eating syndrome can contribute to weight management difficulties, Goodpaster says. The food is eaten before bed, and it is hard for the body to burn off the food in your sleep, so, overall, the risks of night eating syndrome are similar to the risks of obesity.

RELATED: I Had an Eating Disorder for 21 Yearsbut Doctors Wouldn’t Diagnose Me With Anorexia Because of My Weight

What Is Binge Eating Disorder And What Are The Symptoms

People with BED may eat a lot of food in a short amount of time, even if they arent hungry. Emotional stress or destress often plays a role and might trigger a period of binge eating.

A person might feel a sense of release or relief during a binge but experience feelings of shame or loss of control afterward .

For a healthcare professional to diagnose BED, three or more of the following symptoms must be present:

  • eating much more rapidly than normal
  • eating until uncomfortably full
  • eating large amounts without feeling hungry
  • eating alone due to feelings of embarrassment and shame
  • feelings of guilt or disgust with oneself

People with BED often experience feelings of extreme unhappiness and distress about their overeating, body shape, and weight (,

  • ).

An episode of binge eating can be triggered by stress, dieting, negative feelings relating to body weight or body shape, the availability of food, or boredom .


The causes of BED are not fully known. As with other eating disorders, a variety of genetic, environmental, social, and psychological risks are associated with its development.

How Can I Help Someone Who Might Have An Eating Disorder

If you believe someone you know might have an eating disorder, talk to them about it. These conversations can be difficult because eating disorders can trigger negative emotions or make someone feel defensive about their eating habits. But listening to their concerns or showing that you care and understand can help encourage someone to seek help or treatment.

Getting Help For Someone Else

Various Eating Disorders

It can be difficult to know what to do if you’re worried that someone has an eating disorder.

They may not realise they have an eating disorder. They may also deny it, or be secretive and defensive about their eating or weight.

Let them know you’re worried about them and encourage them to see a GP. You could offer to go along with them.

How To Recognize The Most Common Ones

Hannah Sheldon-Dean

When most people think of an eating disorder, what comes to mind is a painfully thin young woman who eats almost nothing. But there are actually three common eating disorders. Not everyone with an eating disorder appears underweight, and not all are women.

Three of the most common eating disorders in children and teenagers are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Other eating issues that kids may be diagnosed with include avoidant restrictive food intake disorder , rumination disorder, and . Kids who have serious problems with eating that dont match any of these disorders sometimes get a broad diagnosis called unspecified eating and feeding disorder.

Anorexia nervosaAnorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that can cause kids to starve themselves. Children and teenagers with anorexia believe they are too fat, even though everyone else sees them as way too thin.

To maintain a very low weight, they eat very little and may throw up on purpose or exercise intensely. They may not understand that their opinion of their body is distorted and that their choices are not healthy.

Anorexia usually begins during the teenage years. Because children with anorexia often do well in school and are popular, it can be hard for parents and other adults to see theres a problem. Girls are diagnosed much more often than boys, but that could be partly because anorexia is harder to spot in boys.

Signs of anorexia include:

  • Not having regular periods


Other Eating And Feeding Problems

For your eating problem, you may get a diagnosis for one of the eating disorders explained on this page.

However, there are other diagnoses you may receive.

These tend to be much less common than anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Rumination disorder

If you get a diagnosis of rumination disorder, you’ll regularly regurgitate your food. Regurgitating means bringing food back up that you’ve already eaten and swallowed.

You won’t have a physical health problem to explain it. You might re-chew, re-swallow or spit out the food you regurgitate.

For more details, see Beat’s information about rumination disorder.


If you get a diagnosis of pica, you’ll often eat things that aren’t food.

The things you eat tend to have no nutritional value. Some examples may be chalk, metal or paint. This can be very damaging to your body.

For more details, see Beat’s information about pica.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

If you get a diagnosis of ARFID, you’ll strongly feel the need to avoid certain foods . This might be because of smell, taste or texture. The idea of eating may fill you with anxiety.

ARFID does not tend to be linked to body image issues. It’s more anxiety about the process of eating itself.

For more details, see Beat’s information about ARFID.

Do You Have An Eating Disorder

Ask yourself, How much time do I spend thinking about food, weight and body image? Looking at eating disorders in this way puts them on a spectrum, rather than a yes or no question. If you spend so much time with these concerns that it interferes with your happiness or functioning, ANAD is here to help.

Different Types Of Eating Disorders

There is a lot of pressure on people to be thin. Many want to keep up with the latest beauty trends all in an effort to look and feel good. This need for perfectionism is fueling their bad eating habits, which can often lead to an eating disorder.

Eating disorders come in a variety of forms. Each with its own impact. Some of the most widely recorded ones are:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Pica
  • Other Specified Eating and Feeding Disorder

Whether it is the restricting or purging type, Anorexia Nervosa is without a doubt a serious condition. Peoples dieting behavior is driven by their deep fear of becoming fat. Bulimia is equally draining, yet often characterized by secretive behavior. Including feelings of embarrassment and shame.

ARFID is another health issue. It results in a constant failure to keep up with the bodys nutritional needs due to picky eating. The avoidance is based on sensory stimulations of the food. For example, when someone with ARFID is trying to eat new food, they tend to react to its color, smell, look, and texture. The fear is making them vomit, choke, or develop other reactions to the food.

Binge eating, on the other hand, is characterized by episodes of munching on massive quantities of meals in a very short time. While Pica is a disorder that makes a person keep eating the exact same food that provides zero nutritional value.

Eating Disorders And Pregnancy

Women with eating disorders have higher rates of miscarriage than do healthy, normal women. Also, babies might be born prematurely, meaning that they would not weigh as much or be as well-developed as babies who are born full term.

Women with anorexia nervosa are underweight and may not gain enough weight during pregnancy. They risk having a baby with abnormally low birth weight and related health problems.

Women with bulimia nervosa who continue to purge may suffer dehydration, chemical imbalances or even cardiac irregularities. Pregnancy heightens these health risks.

Women who are overweight due to binge eating are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and overgrown babies. Low birth weight babies are at risk of many medical problems, some of them life-threatening.

Your teeth and bones might become weak and fragile because the baby’s need for calcium takes priority over yours. If you don’t replenish calcium with dairy products and other sources, you could find yourself with stress fractures and broken bones in later years. Once calcium is gone from your bones, it is difficult, if not impossible, to replace it.

What Is Other Specified Feeding Or Eating Disorder

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder occurs when someone meets some but not all of the criteria for an eating disorder. There are several categories of OSFED:

  • Atypical Anorexia Nervosa occurs when someone exhibits the symptoms of anorexia with a weight at or above a normal range.
  • Binge Eating Disorder with episodes that are less frequent or do not occur as long as needed to be formally diagnosed.
  • Bulimia Nervosa that is less frequent or did not occur as long as needed for the full diagnosis
  • Purging Disorder occurs when someone purges without binge eating.
  • Night Eating Syndrome occurs when a person consumes at least 25% of their daily intake after the evening meal.

What If I Have An Eating Disorder

If you think you may have an eating disorder:

Tell someone. Tell a parent, teacher, counselor, or an adult you trust. Let them know what you’re going through. Ask them to help.

Get help early. When an eating disorder is caught early, a person has a better chance of recovery. Make an appointment with your doctor or an eating disorders specialist.

Go to all appointments. Treatment takes time and effort. Work hard to learn about yourself and your . Ask questions any time you have them.

Be patient with yourself. There’s so much to learn, and change happens a little at a time. Take care of yourself and be with people who support you.

Effects Of Eating Disorders

Fighting Anorexia: Different types of eating disorders

Eating disorders can lead to simple reversible complications such as anemia and irregular periods or eventually result in serious effects like heart failure or even result in death. The time period as to when these effects will occur cannot be predetermined. It is dependent on the individuals constitution, severity of the eating disorder and as to when appropriate treatment is initiated.

While the signs and symptoms of the eating disorder will give an indication of the most likely complication that may arise soon, preventing these effects will depend on the level of care, patient compliance, past medical history and ability to recover.  It is important to note that even if the patient is undergoing treatment and there are promising signs of recovery, the complications associated with the different types of eating disorders can still occur even after treatment is initiated.

How Are Eating Disorders Diagnosed

Health care providers and mental health professionals diagnose eating disorders based on history, symptoms, thought patterns, eating behaviors, and an exam.

The doctor will check weight and height and compare these to previous measurements on growth charts. The doctor may order tests to see if there is another reason for the eating problems and to check for problems caused by the eating disorder.

Other Features Of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Hormonal abnormalities are common, with low levels of luteinizing and thyroid hormones and increased levels of cortisol, leading to amenorrhea and osteoporosis.
  • Cardiac abnormalities, arrhythmias, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, with low serum potassium, may occur due to frequent vomiting and laxative or diuretic misuse, and can ultimately lead to death.
  • Underlying psychological and psychiatric factors are usually present and intervention is necessary, either in the form of drug therapy and/or counseling.

Restoring nutritional balance, treating complications, and providing psychotherapy to resolve related issues comprise the basic approach to management of anorexia nervosa. There is a higher rate of suicide associated with anorexia nervosa when compared to other eating disorders and early intervention with professional supervision is crucial.

What Is Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa consists of recurrent episodes of binge eating along with compensatory behavior. People struggling with bulimia recurrently try to compensate for eating through fasting, self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or use of laxatives, diuretics or other medications. They might also be very concerned about their weight or body shape. 

Heres Some Signs That Someone Might Have Osfed:

  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Seeming obsessed with food, eating, weight or body shape
  • Problems with body image and low self-esteem
  • Feelings of shame or guilt, especially after eating
  • Sensitive to comments around food, weight or body shape
  • Skipping meals, counting calories or avoiding certain food groups
  • Binge eating or eating at unusual times
  • Going to the bathroom during or shortly after meals
  • Over-exercising or continuing to exercise when sick or injured
  • Frequently body-checking
  • Saying theyve eaten when they havent or hiding uneaten food
  • Avoiding situations involving food, or spending more time alone
  • Physical signs like feeling faint or dizzy

Eating disorders can have a devastating impact on someones health. Its important to seek support as soon as you notice any warning signs.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder consists of recurrent episodes of binge eating. People struggling with binge eating disorder might eat much more rapidly than normal, eat until feeling uncomfortably full, eat large amounts of food without feeling physically hungry, or feel guilty, disgusted or depressed after eating.

How Is An Eating Disorder Treated

Treatment depends on the eating disorder, its cause, and your overall health. Your doctor may evaluate your nutritional intake, refer you to a mental health professional, or hospitalize you if your disorder has become life-threatening.

In some cases, psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or family therapy, can help address the social or emotional issues that may be causing your disorder.

Theres no medication that can fully treat an eating disorder. But some medications can help control symptoms of the anxiety or depressive disorder that may be causing or aggravating your eating disorder. These can include anti-anxiety medicines or antidepressants.

Reducing your stress through yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques can also help you control your eating disorder.

Change To Anorexia Nervous Criterion

  was eliminated as a criterion for anorexia nervosa in the DSM-5. This is important because this criterion could not be applied to males, premenarchal females, those taking oral contraceptives, and post-menopausal femalesand the condition could be left undiagnosed in these groups.

And a small percentage of those with anorexia nervosa continue menstruating despite extreme weight loss and malnutrition.

What Causes An Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder

According to Dr. Manly, eating disorders are thought to be a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. “Eating disorders may be triggered by stressful or traumatic life events and often co-occur with other mental health disorders such as OCD , substance abuse, and anxiety,” she says.

Dr. Klapow also explains that one can have a genetic predisposition for an eating disorder. Similarly, how your family interacts with food in your own home can offset a negative relationship with food. For example, he says, parental modeling of unhealthy eating patterns, the use of food by parents as punishment or rewards in a highly restrictive manner, or unrealistic expectations about weight and physical appearance placed by family or society, can all trigger an eating disorder.

Top 5 Different Types Of Eating Disorders And Their Definitions

Eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder contain extreme attitudes, emotions, and behaviors surrounding weight as well as food problems. Eating disorders are considered as serious physical and emotional problems that could have life-threatening consequences for both men and women.

If you are looking for information about different types of eating disorders, then the following list will offer you a brief summary of the types of eating disorders commonly available. Read on to learn more about eating disorders as well as their symptoms collected by !

Different Types Of Eating Disorders 5 Most Common Kinds

1. Anorexia Nervosa

In regard to types of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa is featured by the refusal to eat. It impacts people at all ages and of different genders but disproportionately impacts young women most commonly in their teens and twenties. With those people with anorexia nervosa, food, eating, and weight control become obsessions. They typically weigh themselves repeatedly; eat small quantities of special foods and portion foods carefully. Some individuals with this disorder might also engage in binge eating followed by excessive exercise, extreme dieting, self-induced vomiting, diuretics, or misuse of laxatives or enemas.

The symptoms of anorexia nervosa contain:

In addition to the common symptoms above, there are other symptoms as well as medical complications associated with, such as:

  • Brittle nails or hair

2. Bulimia Nervosa

Are Teenagers Affected By Eating Disorders

Teenagers can be especially susceptible to eating disorders because of hormonal changes during puberty and social pressure to look attractive or thin. These changes are normal, and your teenager may only practice unhealthy eating habits every once in a while.

But if your teenager begins to obsess over their weight, appearance, or diet, or starts consistently eating too much or too little, they may be developing an eating disorder. Abnormal weight loss or weight gain may also be a sign of an eating disorder, especially if your teenager frequently makes negative comments about their body or perceived size.

If you suspect your teenager has an eating disorder, be open and honest about your concerns. If theyre comfortable talking with you, be understanding and listen to their concerns. Also have them see a doctor, counselor, or therapist to address the social or emotional issues that may be causing their disorder.

also suggests that men with eating disorders are underdiagnosed and undertreated. Theyre less likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, even when they exhibit similar symptoms as a woman.

suggests that many young men with eating disorders dont seek treatment because they consider them stereotypically female disorders.

Take Appropriate Action Against Eating Disorders

While there are different types of eating disorders, all of them are harmful to you and should never go ignored. As youve seen, an eating disorder can prove fatal if left untreated. Once a formal diagnosis has been made, seek expert help right away.

Are you interested in reading more interesting content? Please, keep visiting our blog for our featured articles.

Unspecified Feeding Or Eating Disorder

Unspecified feeding or eating disorder applies to presentations in which symptoms characteristic of a feeding and eating disorder that cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functions predominate but do not meet the full criteria for any of the disorders in the feeding and eating disorders diagnostic class.

The unspecified feeding and eating disorder category is used in situations in which the clinician chooses not to specify the reason that the criteria are not met for a specific feeding and eating disorder, and includes presentation in which there is insufficient information to make a more specific diagnosis .


Eating Disorders What Are They Exactly

Eating disorders are a disruption in eating behavior. Usually triggered by excessive concern about trying to lose weight, the disorders can impair their psychosocial and physical functioning.

According to 2021 reports, 5 million Americans struggle with abnormal eating habits a year. Most of those affected are adolescents and young women. These disorders are behavioral conditions. They are persistent, severe, and cause distressing emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

They affect roughly 5% of the population. Although genes have a major role to play, a significant portion of those affected experience the disorder with no family history of a similar condition. Luckily, with adequate care and expert help, people can resume their normal eating habits.

Addiction Help

What About Other Eating Issues

There are many different types of eating and body image issues that can affect anyone, at any age, though they are less common than the four primary eating disorders. These include Rumination Disorder, when someone consistently regurgitates food after eating; , a form of extreme clean-eating; and Food Addiction when someone cannot control their intake of specific types of foods or ingredients. These, and any other abnormal or excessive behaviors that relate to diet or body image are conditions that often require professional treatment to prevent symptoms from worsening.

Can Eating Disorders Be Prevented

According to Burton Murray, yes, some of these disorders may be preventable. Adds NEDA: “Scientists believe that if they can reduce the risk factors for eating disorders, then they can reduce the chances that a person will go on to develop an eating disorder.”

Prevention can include reducing negative risk factors, like body dissatisfaction, or depression, or appearance-based self-esteem, or increasing protective factors, like giving appreciation for the body’s functionality.

Types Of Eating Disorders

Various Eating Disorders

Nowadays, we only ever hear about two types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, but did you know that there are many more eating disorders out there that weve never heard of? In this article we are going to shed some light on the different types of eating disorders that people suffer with.

Trigger warning: EDs

I Had An Eating Disorder When I Was Younger Am I In The Clear Now

Although Vazzana says an eating disorder can affect someone at any age, there are certain ages when an eating disorder is more likely to developfor instance, around 13 or 14 and again around 17 or 18 for anorexia nervosa; around 18 or 19 for bulimia nervosa; and around 21 or 22 for binge eating disorder.

Regardless of when an eating disorder develops, though, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better chance there is for recovery. Still, according to Goodpaster, eating disorders are hard to treat. Sometimes, when someone is treated for one eating disorder, it can develop into a different disorder . “There’s not a timeline for how long it may take a person, but it might present differently over a long period of time,” Goodpaster says.

Thankfully, there are effective treatments to help with in the recovery. The treatment plan usually includes physicians, psychologists, and dietitians who can provide psychiatric medication if needed, cognitive behavioral or interpersonal therapy, and nutrition education, according to Goodpaster. 

What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is an obsession with an imaginary defect in physical appearance or an extreme concern with a slight physical blemish, which others may not even see. People struggling with body dysmorphic disorder have inaccurate perceptions of their body and often specific body parts, such as the hair, skin and nose.

Medications For Eating Disorders

Medications prove to be beneficial when these are combined with therapies. Antidepressants have also been thought to be useful for eating disorders. Therefore stay patient and active during your treatment. This way you will be able to find the appropriate help and support from your doctor, family, and friends.

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