The ED Spectrum

NationalEatingDisorders.org - NEDA

 

Eating Disorder: “Any range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disrupted eating habits.”

There are many different types of eating disorders that affect people from all over the world. The growth of these disorders in the past 20 years has been significant. In the US alone, over 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their lives.

Here are four of the most common forms of eating disorders and their symptoms according to the NEDA’s website.

 

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Commonly known as just Anorexia. This disease is defined by lack of eating, those who suffer from this often eat little to no food to drastically decrease their overall calorie intake to lose weight quickly. Symptoms include (but aren't limited to); excessive calorie tracking, fear of weight gain, obsessive weight tracking, close relation of self-esteem and body image, and the inability to see the seriousness of their situation. About 90-95% of those who suffer are women and girls. Anorexia Nervosa is one of the most common diagnoses in young women. Severe dehydration, kidney failure, fatigue, fainting, reduction in bone density, slow heart rate and low blood pressure are just some of the serious health conditions that can develop from this disease. Anywhere from 5-20% of people suffering from Anorexia Nervosa will die from their condition, this number is increased depending on the amount of time they battle

Warning signs:

  • Quick and dramatic weight loss

  • Obsessiveness with calories, food intake, exercise, and weight loss

  • Anxiousness over weight gain

  • Denial of hunger

  • Comments about being “fat” or needing to lose more weight despite rapid weight loss

  • Excessive workout routine

 

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

  • Binge Eating Disorder is a result of recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food, feeling loss of control during these episodes, experiencing shame or guilt afterwards, and non-regularly getting rid of the items just consumed (usually by purging). BED is the most common disorder in America, it affects around 3.5% of women and 2% of men. Heart Disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and gallbladder disease are among the many conditions that make this a dangerous battle for those struggling with the disorder. Although it is severe and life-threatening, it is also treatable through different types of therapy.

Warning signs

  • Eating compulsively

  • Eating to the point of being sick

  • Low self esteem

  • Guilt, shame or distress after eating a lot

 

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Another well known disorder is Bulimia. This disorder is characterized by bingeing and purging shortly after food consumption. This can be affected by low self esteem and one's self esteem being directly tied to their body image.Similar to BED, one can feel out of control during these episodes, and the only way to feel in control again is to purge. 1-2% of adolescent women suffer from this disorder. Usually, those affected know that they have a problem but are unwilling to do anything about it. Bulimia can be extremely harmful to the body. Tooth decay from excessive vomiting, inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus, chronic irregular bowel movements (due to overuse of laxatives), and electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and heart failure are just some of the consequences from this disorder.

Warning signs:

  • Usually people appear to be of average body weight

  • Evidence of binge eating (and the hiding of possible evidence)

  • Evidence of purging (frequent trips to the bathroom after eating, sounds/smells of vomiting, excessive laxative wrappers etc)

  • Excessive exercise routine

  • Discoloration or staining on teeth

  • Withdrawal from usual social life

  • General behaviors/attitudes that show weight loss and diet are now primary concerns

 

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

  • These are disorders that cause distress and impairment but doesn’t meet the criteria for other feeding/eating disorders. Examples of OSFED are atypical anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa with less frequent behaviors, BED with less frequent behaviors, purging without binge eating, and night eating syndrome. Warning signs can be seen as lesser or less frequent versions of the warning signs of typical eating disorders. There are serious emotional and psychological problems that stem from OSFED’s. Those who suffer can experience problems in work, school, or relationships. Those who are concerned about their eating and exercise habits, or who have serious negative thoughts about food, exercise, or body image should contact an ED professional.

Although, these are not the only forms of eating disorders. Other documented types are:

  1. Eating Disorder NOS

  2. Night Eating Syndrome

  3. Orthorexia

  4. Pica

  5. Prader-Willi Syndrome

  6. Rumination

  7. Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder

 

For more information, go to nationaleatingdisorders.org

If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the national eating disorder hotline at 1-800-931-2237

 

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