Eating disorders are psychological disorders that are loosely characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list different types of eating disorders, all of which are categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Understanding the various types is important for recognizing and addressing these disorders effectively. Some of the main types of eating disorders include the following, provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Anorexia nervosa: Is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss and/ or lack of appropriate weight gain, an inability to maintain an appropriate body weight for one’s age, height, stature, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body image (weight and/ or shape). People struggling with anorexia will employ extreme efforts to control their weight and/ or shape, which can significantly interfere with their ability to properly function in their daily life.
- Bulimia nervosa: Is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of overeating (bingeing) and compensatory behaviors (purging) in attempts to undo the effects of the binge eating episodes. Purging could include self-induced vomiting, excessively over exercising, and/ or abusing diuretics.
- Binge-eating disorder (BED): Is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsively eating abnormally large quantities of food (often quickly) to the point of physical discomfort, without engaging in compensatory behaviors. Often binge episodes are followed with emotions of embarrassment, shame, guilt, and/ or distress.
- Rumination disorder: Is an eating disorder characterized by repeatedly and unintentionally regurgitating (spitting up) undigested or partially digested food from the stomach, chewing it again, and either swallowing it or spitting it out.
- Avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): Is an eating disorder characterized by restricting food intake (e.g., eating smaller amounts) and/ or eliminating certain food groups to the point of infringing on one’s exposure and ability to absorb needed nutrients coming from food.
- Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED): As indicated in the DSM-5, OSFED, formerly known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) is diagnosed when a person presents with feeding or eating behaviors that cause clinically significant distress and impairment, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other disorders.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), an estimated 30 million U.S. adults will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences, interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life, and if left untreated can become life-threatening.
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The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.