Blog 4 Types Of Eating Disorders And How To Identity Them

4 Types Of Eating Disorders And How To Identity Them

An overhead shot of a white plate with green peas shaped in a sad face representing emotions displayed in eating disorders

In the U.S., over 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder. Most tend to develop during adolescence and early adulthood, leading to a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits and behaviors. These habits and behaviors can result in nutritional deficiencies and other serious health problems.

Eating disorders can be attributed to a number of factors from genetics, cultural preferences, personality traits, and media influence. Studies show more women experience eating disorders than men.

Here are four of the twelve major eating disorders and how to identify them:

1. Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is defined as “an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat”.

Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include but are not limited to:
• Unhealthy obsession with being thin/underweight
• Denial of being underweight
• Irrational fear of gaining weight
• Extremely restricted eating patterns
• Unhealthy association between weight and self-worth

2. Bulimia Nervosa

More than six million Americans report having experienced bulimia in their lifetime. This is when someone will binge eat large amounts of food and try to purge it shortly after. Purging behaviors include forced vomiting, fasting and laxatives, but may also include excessive exercise and diuretics.

Just a few symptoms of bulimia are:
• Repeated episodes of binge eating
• Purging after eating
• Irrational fear of gaining weight
• Using enemas, diuretics or laxatives unnecessarily
• Body shape and weight impacting self-esteem negatively

3. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is when someone is either not interested in eating, or so selective about what they do eat that they do not meet daily nutritional requirements. This can prevent the person from gaining weight, or cause nutritional deficiencies that lead to other health problems.

Symptoms of ARFID include:
• Distaste for a majority of smells, tastes, colors ,and textures of food
• Lack of interest in eating
• Dependence on supplements or tube feeding
• Being severely underweight for age and height

4. Rumination Disorder

People who suffer from rumination disorder unintentionally regurgitate undigested or partially digested food, chew it again, and then spit it out or swallow it. This typically happens at or after each meal.

Signs of rumination disorder include:
• Effortless regurgitation
• Abdominal pain relieved by regurgitation
• Irrational feeling of fullness
• Unintentional weight loss

Being that many symptoms of an eating disorder can be shared with another, it is critical to get a proper diagnosis. If you or someone you love suffers from an eating disorder, please schedule an appointment with one of our licensed professionals today.