DiseasesCommon Types of Eating Disorders

Common Types of Eating Disorders

Even though it’s in the name, eating disorders are not only about food. They are intricate mental health issues that frequently need the help of qualified medical and psychological professionals to change their trajectory. Around 28 million people in the US alone have an eating problem or have had one in the past; they can be highly severe conditions that impact social, psychological, and physical function.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and pica and rumination disorders are several common eating disorders. When all eating disorders are included, they can impact up to 5% of people, with adolescence and early adulthood being the most prevalent. Several of them, like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, are more common in women, though anybody can develop them at any age. Eating disorders are frequently linked to obsessions with food, weight, or form, as well as anxiety related to eating or the results of consuming particular foods. Food restriction or avoidance, binge eating, using laxatives or vomiting to purge, or obsessive exercise are all behaviors linked to eating disorders. These habits are sometimes motivated in ways that resemble addictions.

Types of Eating Disorders

Extreme food and weight concerns are typical in a category of eating disorders, but each condition has its own symptoms and diagnostic standards. The symptoms of the six most common eating disorders are listed below.

The Monte Nido eating disorder treatment is a specialized program that offers comprehensive care for individuals struggling with eating disorders. Their evidence-based approach includes medical monitoring, individualized therapy, and nutritional support to address recovery’s physical and emotional aspects. Monte Nido aims to help individuals recover and develop healthy relationships with food and their bodies.

Anorexia Nervosa

Probably one of the most well-known types of eating disorders is anorexia nervosa.

It often appears throughout adolescence or the early stages of adulthood and affects more women than males.

Despite being extremely underweight, anorexics frequently see themselves as overweight. They often track their weight, avoid particular meals, and drastically limit their calorie consumption. Anorexia Nervosa’s common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fairly limited dietary habits
  • Despite being underweight, an extreme dread of gaining weight or persistent actions to prevent it
  • An obsession with being slim and a refusal to keep a healthy weight
  • Body size or perceived body shape has a significant impact on self-esteem
  • A skewed perception of one’s physique, especially the denial of being dangerously underweight

It’s crucial to remember that identifying someone with anorexia shouldn’t be primarily based on weight. Body mass index is no longer a reliable diagnostic tool since dangers might apply to both “normal” and “overweight” individuals. For instance, a person with atypical anorexia may fit the criteria for the disorder yet not be underweight despite having lost a lot of weight. Additionally common are signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. For instance, many anorexics are consumed with thoughts of eating all the time, and some may compulsively stockpile food or gather recipes.

Additionally, they could struggle to eat in public and show a strong desire to rule their surroundings, which limits their capacity for spontaneity. The restrictive type of anorexia and the binge-eating and purging type are the two varieties that are officially recognized. People with the restricted type only eat fast or exercise excessively to reduce weight. The sort of people that binge eats and then purge may eat a lot of food or very little. In both situations, individuals vomit, use laxatives or diuretics, or exercise excessively to get rid of the food they just ate. The body can suffer significant harm from anorexia. People with it could eventually have brittle hair and nails, frail bones, and infertility. Anorexia, in difficult situations, can cause death via failure of the heart, brain, or several organs.

 Bulimia Nervosa

Another common eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. Like anorexia, bulimia often manifests throughout adolescence and the early stages of life and seems to affect men and women differently. Bulimics commonly consume substantial amounts of food in a short length of time. Typically, a binge eating experience lasts until the person feels excruciatingly full. The individual experiencing a binge typically feels unable to stop eating or regulate their intake. Although binges can occur with any food, they most frequently happen with items that the person generally avoids. Bulimics then try to purge to make up for the calories they have already ingested and to feel better. Standard purging techniques include forced vomiting, fasting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, and strenuous exercise. 

The symptoms of the purging or binge eating subtypes of anorexia nervosa may resemble one another rather closely. However, bulimics typically maintain a more or less average weight rather than drastically reducing their weight. Bulimia Nervosa’s common signs and symptoms include:

  • Instances of binge eating that occur frequently and leave one feeling in control
  • Recurring examples of improper purging to avoid gaining weight
  • Body type and disproportionate weight impact one’s sense of self.
  • Despite having a regular weight, scared of gaining weight

An irritated and painful throat, swollen salivary glands, damaged tooth enamel, dental decay, acid reflux, stomach discomfort, severe dehydration, and hormone imbalances are all potential side effects of bulimia. 

Binge Eating Disorder

The most frequent eating problem and one of the most prevalent chronic conditions among teenagers is binge eating disorder. Although it can develop later, it often starts around adolescence and the early stages of adulthood. The signs of this type of eating disorder are comparable to those of bulimia or the anorexic binge eating subtype. For instance, they frequently feel out of control during bingeing and consume abnormally large quantities of food in comparatively short lengths of time. People with binge eating disorders do not engage in purging activities to compensate for their binges, such as vomiting or excessive exercise. The following are typical signs of binge eating disorder:

  • Devouring a lot of food, covertly, until you’re uncomfortable, even when you’re not hungry.
  • Experiencing a loss of control when binge eating
  • Sensations of pain when contemplating the binge eating activity, such as embarrassment, disgust, or guilt
  • No compensatory purging actions, such as calorie restriction, vomiting, excessive exercise, or use of laxatives or diuretics

People who suffer from binge eating overeat and may not choose nutrient-dense foods. This could raise their chance of developing health issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.


The eating disorder known as pica involves consuming items that are not regarded as foods and have no nutritional value. Non-food items, including ice, mud, soil, chalk, soap, paper, hair, fabric, wool, pebbles, laundry detergent, or cornstarch, are craved by people with pica. Pica can happen to adults, kids, and teenagers. Although it happens to many people, it isn’t often acknowledged, unlike other more common eating disorders such as anorexia and binge eating. People with problems that interfere with daily functioning, such as intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder, and mental health conditions like schizophrenia, are the ones who are most likely to experience it. A higher risk of poisoning, infections, gut injuries, and nutritional deficits may exist in people with pica. Pica might be lethal, depending on what you ate. However, for the condition to be classified as pica, consuming non-food items cannot be a common practice in one’s culture or religion. Additionally, a person’s peers must not consider it socially acceptable behavior.

Rumination Disorder

Another recently discovered type of eating disorder is rumination disorder. It describes a condition in which a person regurgitates food they have already chewed and swallowed. They then re-chew the food and either re-swallow it or spit it out. This condition may appear in a baby, child, or adult. It often develops between 3 and 12 months in infants and frequently goes away independently. Therapy is frequently necessary to treat the illness in both children and adults. Rumination disorder in babies, if left untreated, can lead to severe malnutrition and weight loss, both of which are potentially fatal. Adults suffering from this disease might limit how much they consume, especially in public. They might lose weight and become underweight as a result of this.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder 

A long-standing disorder has a new name: avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). The phrase has taken the place of the diagnostic known as “feeding disease of infancy and early childhood,” which was previously limited to children under seven. People with this common eating disorder have problematic eating because they are either not interested in eating or dislike particular tastes, scents, colors, textures, or temperatures. ARFID’s common signs and symptoms include:

  • Limitation or avoidance of foods that prevent one from consuming adequate calories or nutrients
  • Eating behaviors that prevent you from participating in everyday social activities, such as eating with others
  • Weight loss or inadequate growth for one’s age and height
  • Deficits in some nutrients, reliance on supplements, or tube feeding

It’s vital to remember that ARFID extends beyond typical actions like a toddler’s fussy eating or an older person’s reduced food intake. Additionally, it excludes avoiding or restricting foods because of a lack of availability or cultural or religious customs.

Food Fears 

Mental health concerns like eating disorders typically call for treatment. If unattended, they may also harm the body. You can get assistance from a healthcare provider specializing in eating disorders if you or someone you know may have an eating issue.

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