Identifying All Types of Eating Disorders and Treatments

Eating disorders are serious, sometimes deadly, mental health issues that must be addressed to ensure a person’s safety and health. If you or a loved one is living with disordered eating behaviors, it’s important to identify symptoms of these conditions so you can get the help you need. Being able to identify all types of eating disorders is crucial to being able to pinpoint which disorder you or a loved one may be dealing with. So, find out more about these conditions so that you can work to find the treatment that best suits your needs.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa is the most dangerous type of eating disorder, as it leads to more fatalities than any eating disorder. People living with this eating disorder experience a distorted view of themselves, often thinking that they are bigger than they really are or overweight when, in reality, they’re not. Due to this skewed sense of self-image, people with anorexia nervosa portray disordered eating behaviors like restrictive eating, purging, and intensely exercising. Essentially, people living with this disorder are on a relentless journey to be ‘thin’, even if they’re already underweight.

Some symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa can include:

  • signs of malnourishment (signs of thinning hair, brittle nails, osteoporosis, etc.)
  • heart and brain damage
  • extreme exhaustion
  • constipation
  • feeling cold (due to lowered body temperature)
  • yellowing of the skin
  • weakening of the muscles
  • infertility

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Those living with bulimia nervosa experience a cycle of binge eating and purging behaviors. Binge eating is when a person consumes large amounts of food, typically within a short time period. And, purging is when one attempts to purge the body of food that was just eaten with laxatives or self-induced vomiting. Like anorexia and other eating disorders, this eating disorder is often accompanied by issues with self-esteem and body image. So, people living with bulimia nervosa may be obsessed with losing weight, caloric intake, and feelings of negative self-worth and/or acceptance.

Some identifying signs of Bulimia Nervosa can include:

  • chronic soreness of the throat from repeated vomiting
  • digestive issues like inflammation from repeated laxative use
  • development of acid reflux
  • dehydration
  • tooth decay caused by loss of enamel from vomiting
  • nutrient imbalances

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder that’s characterized by eating large amounts of food in relatively short periods of time. And, showcasing avoidance behaviors surrounding eating, like hiding food wrappers or eating only in solitude. People living with binge eating disorder will often attempt to compensate for their binge eating episodes by engaging in purging behaviors like vomiting or using laxatives, intense exercise, skipping meals, or using any number of these compensatory behaviors simultaneously.

Some signs and symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder may include:

  • avoidance of eating with or around others
  • eating large amounts of food in small amounts of time
  • binging and purging
  • eating when not hungry
  • experiencing negative feelings about eating and self-image immediately after binging episodes
  • fasting, dieting, and other means to reduce weight or change body shape/size
Other Types of Eating Disorders to Know About

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder aren’t all types of eating disorders in the world. In fact, there are a number of them. However, these three are the most common. Some other types of eating disorders include:

OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders): These eating disorders are characterized by similar or even the same symptoms of bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorders. However, the combination or lack of symptoms doesn’t provide enough evidence to make a singular diagnosis.

ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder): This type of eating disorder displays itself in characteristics including not wanting to or not being able to eat specific foods that are crucial to growth, development, and physical health. This is most prevalent in children and can be characterized as being a ‘picky eater’; however, is much more of a problem than just not wanting to eat certain foods because it can lead to serious health issues.

Rumination Disorder: This eating disorder is characterized by eating, throwing up food mid-digestion, and either rechewing to be swallowed or spit back up. People of any age can develop this eating disorder, but it is commonly developed during childhood.

Pica: This disorder is characterized by the eating of inedible objects which carry little or no nutritional value and are not considered ‘food’. Common things that people may eat who suffer from this disorder may include laundry detergent, dirt, cigarette ashes, chalk, clay, and more.

Getting Help for Eating Disorders Through Delray Beach Psychiatrist

If you think that you or someone you love is living with an eating disorder, help is crucial for the development of behavioral and emotional changes necessary to move forward with life. And, obtain mental and physical wellbeing. Eating disorders can bring about a myriad of health issues and those who live with them may struggle to perform daily tasks due to patterns of disordered eating.

Help through treatment can consist of therapy that allows individuals living with these disorders to develop healthy coping skills in order to overcome thoughts and behaviors associated with eating disorder diagnoses. And, develop healthy thought patterns that can overturn feelings of self-unworthiness and negative self-esteem. Delray Beach Psychiatrist offers outpatient treatment for all types of eating disorders so that people and families touched by these disorders can live out better, more fulfilling lives. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez

DABPN, DABAM, MRO