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What Are The Four Types Of Eating Disorders

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Can Eating Disorders Be Prevented

What are the 4 Types of Eating Disorders?

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.

What Are The Different Types Of Eating Disorder

One eating disorder called orthorexia was only described for the first time in the 1990s. As a result, there have been several changes in how eating disorders are grouped together, or classified.

The World Health Organization uses a classification called ICD-10, which splits eating disorders up into Anorexia Nervosa Bulimia Nervosa Overeating Associated with Other Psychological Disturbances and Other Eating Disorders.

The DSM classification, from the American Psychiatric Association, was updated to its fifth version in 2013. DSM-5 breaks eating disorders down into:

  • Anorexia nervosa .
  • Bulimia nervosa .
  • Binge eating disorder.
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder .
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder .
  • Rumination disorder.
  • Unspecified feeding or eating disorder.

Types Of Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa

First on the eating disorders list is Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

The following are common anorexia symptoms:

  • Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age, and activity level
  • Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”
  • Feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of menstrual periods

Information on the treatment of anorexia.

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Spotting An Eating Disorder In A Loved One

Different eating disorders have some different features – for instance, to be diagnosed with anorexia you must be underweight. However, it’s absolutely possible to have an eating disorder without being grossly underweight. In fact, people with orthorexia are often also obsessed with being in perfect physical shape, so may be extremely fit and look very healthy.

Warning signs include:

  • Making excuses not to eat in company.
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide their shape.
  • Secret stashes of unhealthy food or laxatives.
  • Locking themselves in the bathroom after meals or at other times.
  • Becoming distressed if you try to talk to them about eating.
  • Being very concerned that others in the family eat lots.
  • Being very fussy about their food.
  • Cutting out whole food groups – gluten, lactose, any form of processed foods, animal products, etc.
  • Insisting on doing the food shopping, and spending long periods looking at he food nutritional labels.
  • Being short-tempered or irritable.

The Following Is A Description Of The Three Major Kinds Anorexia Nervosa Bulimia Nervosa And Binge Eating Disorder

Different kinds of eating disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

Young people with anorexia nervosa suffer from a distorted body image. They see themselves as being overweight, even though its obvious to everyone around them that they are actually dangerously thin. They may refuse to eat entirely, especially in front of others, and exercise compulsively. They end up with significant weight loss and may even starve to death.

Bulimia Nervosa

Unlike anorexics, individuals with bulimia nervosa eat large quantities of food, then purge themselves of that food, often in secrecy. They may stick their fingers down their throat to induce vomiting, use laxatives, diuretics, or enemas, and exercise a lot. After bingeing, they feel ashamed and disgusted and are only relieved of these negative emotions by getting rid of the food. Unfortunately, a vicious cycle happens purging to get rid of excess calories and psychological pain, then bingeing again in an effort to escape that pain.

Binge Eating Disorder

Just like individuals with bulimia, those with binge eating disorder frequently indulge in eating thats way out of control. However, unlike bulimia sufferers, binge eaters dont purge their bodies after eating.

Who Suffers From Eating Disorders?

Anorexia and bulimia in young people primarily affect girls, but boys can also be vulnerable . Binge eating disorder is about equally distributed among boys and girls

How Do Eating Disorders Start?

What are Some Triggers for Eating Disorders?

Treatment for Eating Disorders

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What Are Some Of The Health Consequences Of Eating Disorders

Just as the disorders themselves widely vary, so do their potential health consequences. Many of the disorders above have an impact on weight, which affects every system of the body. So people with eating disorders can experience a range of problems in different parts of their body, including their heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and reproductive system. “There’s really no system of the body that’s safe,” Vazzana says.

Fortunately, most of these consequences are temporary and will reverse once a person receives treatment, Vazzana says. There are exceptions, though. One eating disorder health consequence that isn’t recoverable is a change in the musculoskeletal system. For example, people who had anorexia nervosa as adolescents and whose bone growth was affected because of it are at increased risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis later in life, Vazzana says.

In addition to the physical impact, eating disorders can also have psychological complications, such as the development or worsening of other mental health conditions. Eating disorders have a big overlap with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, Goodpaster says. And as Vazzana points out, being malnourisheda common symptom of many eating disordersin and of itself is likely to increase anxiety and depression in someone. The disorders can also have social consequences, like isolation.

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Change To Anorexia Nervous Criterion

Amenorrhea 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.

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Outcomes In Relation With Selected Kinds Of Treatment

Large-scale international reviews of scientific studies have concluded that psychotherapy is effective for numerous conditions.

One line of research consistently finds that supposedly different forms of psychotherapy show similar effectiveness. According to The Handbook of Counseling Psychology: “Meta-analyses of psychotherapy studies have consistently demonstrated that there are no substantial differences in outcomes among treatments”. The handbook states that there is “little evidence to suggest that any one psychological therapy consistently outperforms any other for any specific psychological disorders. This is sometimes called the after a scene/section in Alice in Wonderland where every competitor in a race was called a winner and is given prizes”.

Further analyses seek to identify the factors that the psychotherapies have in common that seem to account for this, known as for example the quality of the therapeutic relationship, interpretation of problem, and the confrontation of painful emotions.

Outcome studies have been critiqued for being too removed from real-world practice in that they use carefully selected therapists who have been extensively trained and monitored, and patients who may be non-representative of typical patients by virtue of strict inclusionary/exclusionary criteria. Such concerns impact the of research results and the ability to generalize from them to practicing therapists.

What Is Binge Eating Disorder And What Are The Symptoms

6 Types of Eating Disorders

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 (1,

  • 8 ).

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.

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Diagnosing An Eating Disorder


People who have an eating disorder may eat too little or too much food. They may also be preoccupied with their shape or weight.

Eating disorders can affect anyone. But females in the United States are twice as likely as males to have the illness, according to the National Eating Disorders Association .

There are four main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa: People with this condition dont eat enough. And they may have an extremely thin appearance.
  • Bulimia nervosa: People with this condition overeat and then purge to avoid gaining weight. They may also abuse laxatives and diet pills.
  • Binge eating: People with this condition eat uncontrollably and dont purge.
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder : This condition was originally called eating disorders not otherwise specified .

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. But several factors can contribute to the disease. Eating disorders may begin in the teen and young adult years. These are ages when many people are focused on their self-image. The illness can also run in families. Some emotional disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, increase the risk for an eating disorder.

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Health And Emotions

Eating disorders can cause serious problems throughout the body.

Anorexia can lead to health problems caused by undernutrition and low body weight, such as:

  • low blood pressure
  • feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
  • constipation and bloating

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Types Of Eating Disorder

Individuals struggling with an eating disorder will have obsessive thoughts about food all day, every day. The individual thinks about calories, taste, food avoidance, or where to buy food. They will spend hours meal planning, counting calories, exercising, and engaging in binging or purging activities to the point that it affects their everyday life.

The most common eating disorders are binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, and each one of these eating disorders can present differently in each individual and carry lifelong consequences.

Other Specified Feeding And Eating Disorder

Various Eating Disorders

If you get an OSFED diagnosis, you have an eating disorder. However, you don’t meet all the criteria for anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder.

This doesn’t mean that your eating disorder is less serious.

OSFED just means that your disorder doesn’t fit into current diagnoses. Getting a diagnosis of OSFED can help you access treatment and support.

You can experience any feelings, actions or body changes linked to other eating disorders.

Previously, OSFED was known as âeating disorder not otherwise specifiedâ .

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

âI was assessed by my local eating disorder service and was given a diagnosis of EDNOS. I managed to get my eating back on track. I continue to work on the feelings with the help of my therapist and am very much in recovery.â

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Causes Of Eating Disorders

While eating disorders typically appear in the teen years or young adulthood, eating disorders can develop in those younger or older than that. Eating disorders can occur in people of all genders. Eating disorders are not caused by vanity and fad diets alone. Biological, psychological, and societal influences can all contribute to an eating disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa: Avoiding Meals

Anorexia is a complex eating disorder which has three key components. A person refuses to maintain a normal body weight, has a distorted image of their body and suffers from an intense fear of gaining weight. Anorexics will often restrict food intake, skip meals, develop inappropriate eating habits and obsess over being thin.

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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.


Diabulimia is something that can affect people with type 1 diabetes. It is a term for when you deliberately restrict or stop taking your insulin to control how many calories your body absorbs from food.

âDiabulimiaâ is not a formal medical diagnosis, so your doctor might not know about it. But it is a term that some people with type 1 diabetes use to describe this experience.

Some people also use the term âT1EDâ or ‘T1DE’, which is short for âtype 1 diabetes with an eating disorderâ. You may hear this used to describe living with type 1 diabetes and experiencing an eating disorder, including restricting your insulin.

Restricting your insulin can be very dangerous, or even life-threatening. So it is important to get support.

The charity Diabetes UK has more information on diabulimia and diabetes, and where to turn for help.

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.


Other Specified Feeding Or Eating Disorder

3 Common Types of Eating Disorders

The majority of those with eating disorders do not fall within the guidelines for anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder and are classified as OSFED. To be diagnosed as having OSFED a person must present with a feeding or eating behaviors that cause clinically significant distress and impairment in areas of functioning, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other feeding and eating disorders.

A diagnosis might then be allocated that specifies a specific reason why the presentation does not meet the specifics of another disorder . The following are further examples for OSFED:

Medical Complications and Associated Features

  • Weight loss or faltering growth

  • Generalized emotional difficulties, sometimes referred to as food avoidance emotional disorder

  • Mirroring of medical complications and associated features of anorexia nervosa

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Media Effects On Eating Disorders

The topic I choose was types of eating disorders which is defined as a severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as unhealthy reduction of food intake or extreme overeating. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These eating disorders can be caused by feelings of distress or concern about body shape or weight and they harm normal body composition and function. Eating disorders frequently develop during adolescence or

Types Of Treatment For Eating Disorders:

“I wake up. I feel my thighs and my pelvic bones to see if they rise above my stomach slightly, but they dont – not enough. Im already disappointed in myself. Getting on the scale this morning will set my mood for the day. The number on the scale is a direct reflection of my happiness. It will determine everything that follows in my relationship with food and how I feel about myself.”

It can be difficult to find the right type of treatment for eating disorders. It is important that the eating disorder treatment program has a full staff dedicated to eating disorder treatment that would include a medical doctor, eating disorder therapists, eating disorder registered dietitians, and support staff that understand and support the eating disorder program and most importantly the client.

Each type of treatment for eating disorders requires the program to consider what the client is struggling with in their relationship with food, weight and body image, in addition to the potential medical consequences that can accompany the specific type of eating disorder. This way the entire team can support each clients individual recovery with optimum care.

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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.

Signs And Symptoms Of Disordered Eating

Types Of Eating Disorders Chart

Signs and symptoms associated with disordered eating are extremely similar to those seen in eating disorders. The main difference is severity and frequency.

Signs and symptoms seen in eating disorders are much more severe and frequent compared to those seen in disordered eating. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Extreme dieting
  • Changes in weight
  • Social withdrawal

If you or a loved one are coping with an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline for support at 1-800-931-2237.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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What Are Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses affecting people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds. People with eating disorders use disordered eating behaviour as a way to cope with difficult situations or feelings. This behaviour can include limiting the amount of food eaten, eating very large quantities of food at once, getting rid of food eaten through unhealthy means , or a combination of these behaviours.

Its important to remember that eating disorders are not all about food itself, but about feelings. The way the person treats food may make them feel more able to cope, or may make them feel in control, though they might not be aware of the purpose this behaviour is serving. An eating disorder is never the fault of the person experiencing it, and anyone who has an eating disorder deserves fast, compassionate support to help them get better.

So that healthcare professionals can choose the right kind of treatment for someone, there are a number of different eating disorders that someone can be diagnosed with. Its possible for someone to move between diagnoses if their symptoms change there is often a lot of overlap between different eating disorders.

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