Common Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder are the most common types of eating disorders. These eating disorders bring about a number of dangerous health risks and potential complications including heart disease, bone loss, and kidney damage. Because of these potentially life threatening complications, if you or someone you knows suffers from any of these main types of eating disorders it is important to receive treatment as soon as possible. Eating disorder treatment facilities are available to help diagnose types of eating disorders and offer personalized treatment programs for both adults and children.
Anorexia is a type of eating disorder in which individuals show an overwhelming aversion to food. People suffering from anorexia demonstrate an obsession with food and weight and will frequently starve themselves in order to lose weight. Individuals with anorexia believe that they are never thin enough regardless of how much weight is lost, which can lead to heart problems, electrolyte imbalances, fertility problems, bone density loss, and death.
Bulimia nervosa is another common type of eating disorder in which sufferers are characterized by frequent cycles of bingeing and purging. Binges occur when an individual eats an extremely large amount of food, typically foods high in calories or fat, in a short amount of time. Following these binges, an individual will perform one of several purging activities in order to rid themselves of the calories consumed during the binge. These purging behaviors include, but are not limited to, self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, fasting, and laxative or diet pill abuse. Individuals suffering from this type of eating disorder are typically at a normal weight or even overweight. Bulimia can result in tooth erosion, stomach distress, GERD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, low potassium levels, irregular heartbeat, and abnormal bowel functioning.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is a disorder during which individuals suffer from frequent bingeing episodes. During these binges, an individual will experience a loss of control and will consume large amounts of food and thousands of calories resulting in feeling uncomfortably full. It is common for individuals to feel guilt or shame following a secret binge. Binge eating disorder often results in weight gain or even obesity due to the ingestion of excessive calories with the absence of any purging, or compensatory, behaviors.
Other Types of Eating Disorders
- Bigorexia / Muscle Dysmorphia: Muscle dysmorphia is a type of eating disorder commonly occurring in bodybuilders and gym-goers. This eating disorder, also known as reverse anorexia, is characterized by the belief that one is too small or weak. Therefore, an individual becomes obsessed with building bigger muscles.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Body dysmorphia is type of disorder in which a person is extremely concerned with their outward appearance and shows a distorted view of their body including severe flaws or distortions. Individuals suffering from body dysmorphia often develop eating disorders including anorexia in an attempt to control or resolve these perceived flaws.
- Orthorexia: Orthorexia is another one of the little known types of eating disorders. Individuals suffering from this disorder become obsessed with eating only the “right” kinds of pure, healthy or organic food. The main risk of this eating disorder is that it can develop into a more severe eating disorder including anorexia as an individual continues to limit the types of food that are “safe” to eat. Orthorexia can also result in bulimia if individuals break from their strict diet and then feel they must “punish” themselves by purging or fasting.
- Night Eating Syndrome: In this eating disorder, individuals consume most of their calories in the evening hours often after dinner. Sometimes, people suffering from night eating syndrome also suffer from insomnia and will wake up in the middle of the night to eat.
- Pica: Pica is an extremely dangerous type of eating disorder in which a person has an overwhelming desire to eat, lick, or chew non-food items. This disorder, common in pregnant women, small children, and people with mineral deficiencies, can result in malnutrition, damage to teeth, tears in the intestinal lining, infections, and blockages in the digestive tract.
- Sleep Eating Disorder: This is a type of eating disorder also known as nocturnal sleep-eating disorder. Individuals suffering from this disorder will eat large amounts of food while asleep or in a semi-conscious state with little or no recollection of the event.