Types of Eating Disorders

There are many types of eating disorders that stem from the top three eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. These other types of eating disorders are more specific cases of these three types of eating disorders. Read on to learn more.

The three types of eating disorders, bulimia, anorexia and binge eating have all progressed into more specific categories of different types of eating disorders. This is because many who suffer from an eating disorder may have more specific symptoms or a mixture of symptoms that span more than one of the types of eating disorders. For now, let's stick with the basics. The top three types of eating disorders include:

Anorexia Nervosa:

Anorexia is actually a Greek term from lack of appetite. This eating disorder is generally categorized by low body weight and a distorted body image. The sufferer usually has an obsessive fear of gaining weight and tracks drastic measures like starvation, excessive exercise and sometimes purging themselves in order to continually lose weight and avoid gaining it. Anorexia begins with emotional problems and low self esteem. Like  with most cases of eating disorders, counseling and therapy are often required to help treat anorexia. Typically young women are most likely to be affected by anorexia, however there are men who also struggle with the disorder as well. If left untreated, anorexia has a 20 percent chance of being fatal to the person who struggles with anorexia.

Bulimia Nervosa: 

Bulimia often has the characteristics of the person not eating very much, but then suddenly eating a lot of food all at once in a practice called binging. They then purge the food they have just eaten by forcing themselves to throw up because they fear gaining weight after binging all of their food, which tends to be fatty and unhealthy foods. Those who have bulimia are also notorious for abusing laxatives that speed up the movement of food through the body leading to a bowel movement so the food has less time to digest in the body. Like those with anorexia, those who suffer from bulimia also tend to exercise a lot and eat very little except for when they are binging. Many will also take water pills to help rid themselves o added water weight. Counseling and intense therapy is also recommended for treatment for those with bulimia with the survival rate being about 80 percent for those who do seek treatment. 

Binge Eating Disorder:

While binge eating is in many ways the opposite of anorexia and bulimia it is still considered to be a very serious eating disorder. Those who have problems with binge eating are characterized as being a person who eats uncontrollably and eats beyond the point of feeling comfortably full. There generally is no purging involved like in bulimia, but the person may fast or starve themselves in between binging episodes. The idea is that those who suffer from binge eating will restrict themselves to the point of starvation; a process that results in binge eating because they are so hungry from starvation. Like the other types of eating disorders, the best way to treat binge eating is through counseling and therapy. Severe health effects ranging from obesity to other related problems with digestion, heart disease and clogged arteries can result from binge eating. Signs of binge eating include feeling the eating is out of control, eating more than is usual for someone your size, eating a lot even when you are not hungry, being embarrassed by the amount of food eating, feeling disgusted or depressed and guilty about overeating, spending more money on food than in necessary.

There are other types of eating disorders that have stemmed from these original three. Other types of eating disorders include: 

  • Anorexia Athletica, this occurs when a person no longer enjoys exercise but pushes themselves to over exercise in spite of those feelings. This type of eating disorder is more than just a behavior disorder and often includes starvation and frequent fasting. Other characteristics of someone with anorexia athletica is when the person is obsessive about working out, defines their self-worth in terms of performance and accomplishment and pushes to work out even if they are injured, sick or have little energy.
  • Night eating is another form of binge eating, but the person may choose to only participate in over eating activities during the night as a way to hide their disorder. They might also be more prone to experience feelings of depression at night and turn to binging at night as a means of escape from their emotional issues. 
  • Orthoexia is a rarer type of eating disorder, but mostly occurs when a person is obsessive about eating the "right" types of foods meaning they will only eat the most pure and unprocessed foods as possible. While there are plenty of people out there who strive to eat organically as possible, orthorexia becomes a problem when this desire gets taken to an obsessive level. 

Unfortunately less than 20 percent of those who suffer from eating disorders are likely to seek professional help or treatment. That is why it is important to look for the symptoms of these diseases in loved ones or friends that might potentially have issues with an eating disorder. If someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of having an eating disorder, encourage them to get help as soon as possible. There are many serious health-related conditions that can result from not eating right and are especially severe in those who have extreme issues like eating disorders. 

Source: eatingdisordersonline.com

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