Learning the Different Types of Eating Disorders

Jun 27, 2019
Girl writing on mirror

There is a common misconception that eating disorders are just phases or lifestyle choices, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They are serious mental health conditions that impact people’s lives physically, socially, and psychologically. In severe cases, eating disorders can even have grave consequences. At least 30 million people in the US alone are struggling with an eating disorder. But not all eating disorders are the same. Keep reading to learn about three of the most common types of eating disorders.

Anorexia Nervosa

One of the most well-known eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, is characterized by a distorted body image and an unrelenting desire to be thin. This disorder affects women more than men and usually develops during adolescence or young adulthood. People with anorexia tend to think of themselves as overweight, even if they are perilously underweight, and often have a fear of gaining weight. They are also likely to avoid certain types of food, closely monitor their weight, and restrict their calorie intake. Over time, anorexia can take a toll on the body, causing brittle nails and hair, bone thinning, infertility, and a layer of fine hair to grow all over the body.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is another common eating disorder that forms during adolescence and impacts women more than men. Those with bulimia eat large quantities of food in a short period, known as a binge. Usually, a person eats until they feel uncomfortably full and, while binging, they feel incapable of controlling how much they eat or stopping. Following a binging session, people with bulimia will then try to make up for the calories they consumed by purging. They may purge by forced vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, fasting, and increased exercise. Bulimia can lead to some side effects such as sore throat, tooth decay, acid reflux, and dehydration. If you believe that you or someone you know has bulimia nervosa, schedule an appointment at one of the best medical centers in Suffolk County, NY, today to explore treatment options.

Girl suffering bulimia

Binge Eating Disorder

This eating disorder wasn’t officially recognized by the medical community until recently, despite being one of the most common types of eating disorders in the US. Those with binge eating disorder usually eat a lot of food in a short period and feel a lack of control while doing it. Unlike bulimia, people with binge eating disorder don’t purge or restrict their calorie intake following a binge. Often, people with this disorder feel shame, guilt, and distress when they think about their binge eating. People who binge eat are frequently overweight or obese, which may increase their risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, now is the time to get help. Reach out to us at Peconic Bay Medical Center to learn more.