Eating disorders are becoming more and more common in today’s society. Any eating disorder is a real illness that should be taken seriously. The most extreme cases of some types of eating disorders can even cause death, so if you suspect you might have an eating disorder, you should see a doctor immediately. Treatment for all types of eating disorders should not be attempted on one’s own and are best conducted under the care of a specialized physician.
Eating disorders appear usually in teenagers or during young adulthood, but they can also develop later in life, or in some rare cases, in children. Although the most common types of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia affect mostly women, men can also become ill.
An eating disorder will cause a person to change their diet routine, sometime to the extreme. Even concern about body weight may characterize an eating disorder. What you should know is that all types of eating disorders are treatable and that the first step is admitting there is a problem and then seeking help.
Today, we’re going to present to you the 5 most common types of eating disorders, with their different symptoms and their three or more main criteria for diagnosis.
5. Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa is a type of eating disorder characterized by a refusal to eat. As mentioned earlier, it can affect both genders, but it is more common in women. There are four criteria that must be present to achieve the diagnosis of anorexia, according to the current edition of the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The first is that a person must refuse to maintain what is considered to be a healthy weight, and as a result, has a body weight 15% lower than the normal for their age and height. The second is that the person must experience a fear of gaining weight. The third is that they must have an abnormal way of perceiving their own body weight and size and the fourth and last criterion is that, in women, amenorrhea (the absence of the last three menstrual cycles) must be present.
Bulimia Nervosa is a type of eating disorder which is characterized by episodes of bingeing and purging (which means self-induced vomiting). When one binges, one consumes more food than a person would eat in a similar circumstance and during the same period of time. There is also a severe lack of control over the consumption of the food. In order for Bulimia Nervosa to be diagnosed, the person would need to experience an episode of bingeing and purging at least two times weekly over a period of at least 3 months. Many people who suffer from bulimia will also take laxatives, diuretics, use enemas and exercise extensively. People who suffer from Bulimia Nervosa will almost always conduct their bingeing and purging in secret.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is different from bulimia. It’s a newly-recognized disease and it is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that happen at least two times a week over a period of at least six months. People who suffer from BED tend to eat large amounts of food in a small period of time, eat until they feel uncomfortable, eat when they’re not hungry and/or feel disgusted or depressed after an episode of bingeing. People with BED are often overweight or obese.
Night Eating Syndrome or NES is gaining new recognition among medical professionals and it’s on its way of becoming recognized as an eating disorder. People who suffer from NES tend to consume very little food during the first half of the day, only to consume the majority of their calories in the evening or at night. People with NES will wake several times during the time to eat and they are fully aware and awake during their eating episodes.
Orthorexia Nervosa is fairly new, as the term was coined in 1997 by Steven Bratman. It’s not a traditionally recognized type of eating disorder, but it does share many of its characteristics with Bulimia and Anorexia. It is characterized by an obsession with food and on eating the most pure and proper food available. The focus is, then, not on the amount, but on the quality of the food ingested. When someone is suffering from orthorexia, they are most likely going to spend a large period of their time on planning and cooking their meals. People with orthorexia experience social isolation and physical deterioration.
Do you or anyone you know suffer from any of these types of eating disorders? How are you or they treating it? Do you know an example of another type of eating disorder?