Eating is in the name, but these disorders go above and beyond a person’s relationship with food. Over 28 million people in the US either struggle with or have a history of eating disorders.

Due to the sheer complexity of these mental health issues, they usually can’t be cured without the help of medical and psychiatric services. The 5 most common types of eating disorders are listed below.

Anorexia Nervosa

This is perhaps the most prevalent eating disorder. It is more likely to affect women than men, and the onset typically occurs around adolescence or early adulthood. Most people with Anorexia Nervosa don’t realize they’re dangerously underweight because they perceive themselves as overweight. They may obsessively weigh themselves, avoid certain foods, and excessively limit their caloric intake.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is another eating disorder that’s more prevalent in women than men and typically emerges during teenage years or early adulthood. Patients with bulimia tend to engage in episodes of binge eating, during which they eat excessively in a short amount of time. They eat excessively and then try to purge to get rid of the food and the distress it causes.

Purging can be accomplished in many ways, but the most common ones are: induced vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, fasting, enemas, and heavy exercise. Bulimia resembles anorexia nervosa in its visible symptoms. However, those who struggle with bulimia tend to keep their weight within a healthy range rather than lose weight.

 A person standing on a weighing scale.

Binge Eating Disorder

Research suggests that binge eating is the most widespread eating disorder. There are parallels between this condition’s symptoms and bulimia and the binge-eating disorder subtype of anorexia. Individuals with this disorder often binge,. However, unlike individuals with anorexia or bulimia, they don’t restrict their calorie intake or purge to make up for their binges.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (AFRID)

AFRID is a failure to eat enough food to meet basic nutritional needs each day.This is either due to a lack of desire to eat or avoiding food because of its texture, color, smell, or flavor. It can also be due to a fear of certain consequences of eating, such as choking. This condition can lead to major weight loss, an inability to gain weight in childhood, and dietary deficiencies that can have adverse health consequences.

Rumination Disorder

Another relatively recent classification is rumination disorder. It involves bringing back food that’s already been chewed and swallowed, re-chewing it, and then either swallowing it or spitting it out. This usually happens within half an hour of finishing a meal. The illness is typically treatable in children and adults through therapy. If untreated, rumination disorder can cause dangerously low body weight and malnutrition.

If you or someone you know are struggling with an eating disorder, we’re here to help you find a way out of it. We offer mental health, psychiatric telehealth, and behavioral health services in Will county. Our telehealth services are for people who can’t travel to our in-person clinics.

For more information, get in touch with us today!

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