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What Are The Three Common Eating Disorders

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The Different Causes Of Eating Disorders

3 Common Types of Eating Disorders

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

When a person gets sick, it’s natural to want to understand why. With eating disorders, which are associated with many myths and negative stereotypes, the question of causation can be especially confusing.

The culture at large commonly blames eating disorders on oversimplified explanations, such as the medias promotion of unrealistically slender models or on bad parenting. Even some health professionals buy into these explanations.

But research shows that familieslongtime scapegoatsdo not cause eating disorders, at least not in any simple, straightforward manner.

While growing up in a dysfunctional home could increase the risk for a number of psychological problems, including eating disorders, it does not condemn a child to an eating disorder or any other psychological disorder.

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.

Three Common Eating Disorders You Probably Didnt Know About

Zintle Nkohla – 29.06.2021

Eating disorders are more than just about food. In fact, they are complex mental health conditions that might do harm when ignored.

According to HealthLine, eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits to develop.

They might start with an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape. About 70 million people in the world live with eating disorders, according to National Eating Disorders Association.

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What Are Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are biologically influenced medical disorders characterised by disturbances to an individual’s eating behaviors. These disorders can affect not just the physical health but also the mental health of a person. In some severe cases, they might also be life-threatening.

Fortunately, like other mental and physical illnesses, eating disorders are treatable! Learning more about these disorders can help you spot the warning signs at an early stage so you can seek immediate treatment for yourself or someone you love.

The Three Most Common Eating Disorders & Their Symptoms

3 Common Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are much more complex than simply over or under-eating. They come with a diverse set of symptoms and conditions unique to each patient, rising from a variety of biological factors, family dynamics and social pressures of their peer group or chosen profession. Additionally, ones own personality traits such as addiction, perfectionism or obsessiveness can contribute to falling into an eating disorder. While the most common demographic for eating disorders is young women, anyone from older adults to Olympic athletes can develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

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How Is Eating Disorders Diagnosed

Because eating disorders can be so serious, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one thinks that you might have a problem. Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms. It is important to be honest about your eating and exercise behaviors so your provider can help you.
  • A physical exam
  • Blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms
  • Other tests to see whether you have any other health problems caused by the eating disorder. These can include kidney function tests and an electrocardiogram .

Common Types Of Eating Disorders

Although the term eating is in the name, eating disorders are about more than food. Theyre complex mental health conditions that often require the intervention of medical and psychological experts to alter their course.

These disorders are described in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition .

In the United States alone, an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men have or have had an eating disorder at some point in their life .

This article describes 6 of the most common types of eating disorders and their symptoms.

Eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits to develop. They might start with an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape.

In severe cases, eating disorders can cause serious health consequences and may even result in death if left untreated.

Those with eating disorders can have a variety of symptoms. However, most include the severe restriction of food, food binges, or purging behaviors like vomiting or over-exercising.

Although eating disorders can affect people of any gender at any life stage, theyre most often reported in adolescents and young women. In fact, up to 13% of youth may experience at least one eating disorder by the age of 20 .

Summary Eating disorders are mental health conditions marked by an obsession with food or body shape. They can affect anyone but are most prevalent among young women.

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Common Mental Health Disorders Associated With Eating Disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are known as the deadliest mental health disorders. Men and women are usually diagnosed in their teens or early adolescent years, however eating disorders can affect men and women of all ages.

Eating disorders often occur due to underlying causes, including low self-esteem, mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders, or a past history of trauma or neglect. When an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, binge eating or bulimia nervosa occurs with another mental health disorder such as depression or with a substance abuse disorder such as alcohol use disorder, it is coined co-occurring disorders.

Gene And Environment Interplay

3 Common Misconceptions About Eating Disorders

Neither genes nor environment cause eating disorders on their own. Eating disorders are likely the result of a complicated interplay of these factors. Even when a precipitating factor can be identified, there is almost always a combination of other contributing factors. The precipitating factor is most likely the trigger that tripped a cascade of events.

Genetic susceptibility may influence their response to certain stressors. For example:

  • A person who is genetically susceptible to an eating disorder may be more sensitive to weight-related teasing and have a heightened reaction to it .
  • A person who is genetically vulnerable may continue dieting much longer than peers who diet and then stop.
  • A person who has the temperament that commonly underlies anorexia nervosa may seek out the types of social environments that contribute to the onset of dieting.

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What Should I Do If I Think I Have An Eating Disorder

People with an eating disorder may feel it helps them stay in control of their life. However, as time goes on, the eating disorder can start to control them. If you have an eating disorder, you may also have the urge to harm yourself or misuse alcohol or drugs.

Talk to someone you trust such as a close friend or family member if you think you have an eating disorder. You can also call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline . You can also call the Butterfly Foundation for advice if you’re concerned about a family member or friend.

Your doctor can advise you on diagnosis and possible treatment options, which will depend on your individual circumstances and the type of eating disorder you have.

What Are The Treatments For Eating Disorders

Treatment plans for eating disorders are tailored to individual needs. You will likely have a team of providers helping you, including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and therapists. The treatments may include

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy. Individual therapy may include cognitive behavioral approaches, which help you to identify and change negative and unhelpful thoughts. It also helps you build coping skills and change behavioral patterns.
  • Medical care and monitoring, including care for the complications that eating disorders can cause
  • Nutrition counseling. Doctors, nurses, and counselors will help you eat healthy to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Medicines, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, may help treat some eating disorders. The medicines can also help with the depression and anxiety symptoms that often go along with eating disorders.

Some people with serious eating disorders may need to be in a hospital or in a residential treatment program. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

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Explaining All Types Of Eating Disorders And Their Treatment

Eating disorders are mental health conditions that are characterized by eating behaviors that bring about negative physical and mental symptoms. Fortunately, professional assistance through treatment and medication is successful in helping people living with eating disorders establish a healthy lifestyle. But, there is more than just one type of eating disorder. So, its important to first identify the type of eating disorder a person is living with. This way, proper treatment planning may take place so an individual can get the most personalized, appropriate care possible. In this article, well explain all types of eating disorders and their symptoms. Therefore, giving individuals who may be living with these disorders information in order to determine if they may be living with one of these disorders. And, get the help they need to live life free from the damaging symptoms and effects of these disorders.

How Do You Know Its An Eating Disorder

Biological basis in eating disorders

Eating disorders are more common than you might guess. National surveys estimate that 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The behaviors associated with eating disorders vary.

The three most common ones are:

  • Anorexia: A condition characterized by weight loss and a distorted body image, in which the person has a fear of gaining weight. People with anorexia dramatically restrict the calories and types of foods they consume, may exercise compulsively and, in some cases, purge by vomiting or use laxatives.
  • Bulimia: A cycle of binging on food and compensating with such behaviors as self-induced vomiting. When a person is having a bulimic episode, they feel unable to control the amount of food they are eating.
  • Binge-eating disorder: This is similar to bulimia in that it involves episodes of uncontrolled eating, but it does not involve purging. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and the one doctors know the least about at this point.

Some people dismiss the significance of their behaviors and may not even be fully aware that they have a problem that requires treatment, Lydecker says.

The study was based on the 2012-13 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which included responses from people who met standard criteria for lifetime eating disorders and who answered questions regarding whether theyd sought help.

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How Common Are Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are complex mental and physical illnesses typically characterized by disturbed eating habits accompanied by an intense fear of weight gain. Those who suffer from the most common eating disorders tend to have an abnormal focus on food, body weight and self-image.

The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

Eating disorders are most commonly diagnosed in women ages 12-35, but can affect men or women of any age. These disorders can have serious mental and physical health consequences, and can lead to death. Eating disorders include a group of related disorders that all cause emotional and physical harm. There are many types of eating disorders, but the three most common are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder .

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is a dangerousand potentially fataleating disorder. People with anorexia and may limit their food intake to the point of starvation. Inadequate calories and poor nutrition disrupt normal body functions which can be life-threatening. Anorexia is diagnosed in individuals who have significantly low weight in relation to their body mass index. Signs of anorexia may include:

Bulimia Nervosa

Binge Eating

If a person binge eats at least once a week for 3 months, it may be a sign of a binge eating disorder. Symptoms of binge eating disorder may include:

Other Eating Disorders

Determining All Types Of Eating Disorders

Some eating disorders are much more common than others. And, some may share similar symptoms. So, it can be challenging to determine which eating disorder a person may be living with without professional help. But, learning more about all types of eating disorders can help pinpoint which one an individual may be dealing with so they may seek the care they require.

Some of the most common eating disorders diagnosed include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Other Specified Eating Disorder
  • Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

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Types Of Eating Disorders

A serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.


  • Food restriction leading to significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, development, and physical health

  • Intense fear of weight gain or becoming fat

  • Persistent behavior interfering with weight gain despite low weight, such as fasting or excessive exercise

  • Disturbed experience of ones body weight or shape, influenced by self-evaluation or persistent lack of recognizing the seriousness of current low body weight

  • Restricting behavior or binge eating and purging behaviors

Medical Complications and Associated Features

  • Signs of depression, such as depressed mood, social withdrawal, irritability, insomnia, and diminished interest in sex

  • Obsessive-compulsive features, both related and unrelated to food

  • Elevated suicide risk
  • Delayed puberty, lack of development

  • Hormonal imbalance

  • Gastrointestinal complications such as stomach aches, bloating, constipation, and acid reflux

  • Vital sign disturbances, such as dangerously low blood pressure

  • Loss of and/or weakened heart muscle

  • Heart palpitations and chest pain

  • Bradycardia or tachycardia

  • Heart failure

  • Edema

Characteristics Of The Most Common Types Of Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders: 3 common myths & misconceptions

Some of the symptoms and characteristics of the different eating disorders overlap; however, there are also unique traits for each of the three common disorder types.

For anorexia nervosa, characteristics include:

  • Disdain for the body and/or continually expressing how unsatisfied they are with their appearanceeven if they have a thin or toned body
  • A bodyweight 15% or lower than the national average for someone of their height and age
  • Amenorrhea, which is the absence of the menstrual cycle
  • Extreme food intake restriction
  • An overwhelming fear of looking fat or gaining weight

For bulimia nervosa, characteristics include:

  • Preoccupation with body weight, shape, and self-image
  • Recurrent episodes of uncontrollably eating large amounts of food at least two times each week for three months or more followed by compensatory actions to prevent gaining weight, such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, use of laxatives or diuretics, and other medications
  • Obsession with weight loss, dieting, and food control

For binge eating disorder, characteristics include:

  • Eating large quantities of food in a brief period of time, two times a week for at least six months. Unlike bulimia, there is no purging involved.
  • Eating behaviors tend to be secretive. The individual often hides food or stockpiles food to eat during the times of bingeing.
  • While there is great satisfaction while eating, the individual feels remorse, shame, and disgust following the binge.

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More About Other Specified Eating Disorder

Individuals who may have some characteristics but not all of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Binge Eating Disorder may receive a diagnosis for Other Specified Eating Disorder, or OSED. Specifically, individuals with OSED may experience one or more symptoms of any of these three eating disorders without displaying the entire characteristics required for a diagnosis of these disorders.

Some of the signs that a person with OSED may display can include a variety of symptoms like:

  • all of the same symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa except the individual is within the healthy weight range for his/her health, age, height, etc.
  • the same symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa except the individual may experience these symptoms less frequently
  • all of the same symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder except the individual may experience these symptoms less frequently
  • purging behaviors to prevent weight gain
  • experiencing night eating syndrome, which is eating at night after the final meal of the day without control

The Three Most Common Eating Disorders And How Theyre Diagnosed

Eating disorders;represent the extremes in thought and behavior patterns surrounding eating. They can lead to serious medical problems, and they can be fatal. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, up to 20 percent of people who dont seek;treatment;for an eating disorder will die.

If youre worried;that you or someone you love might have an eating disorder, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. You probably have a lot of questions and just as many worries, but its hard to know where to begin. This primer will help you better understand the most common;eating disorders, what causes them,;how theyre treated, and what you can do to promote long-term recovery.

The three most common eating disorders are;binge eating disorder,;anorexia nervosa, and;bulimia nervosa.

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