Types of Eating Disorders


Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by self induced starvation or excessive weight loss, often related to control issues. The individual has a distorted body image. (Some of these criteria do not apply to children who develop or who are developing eating disorders.) They see themselves as fat regardless of how thin they get. Some may feel fat all over and some see specific body parts (particularly the stomach and thighs) as being too fat. Their self worth is based on their body size and shape. They deny that their low body weight is a serious cause for concern and will lie to themselves, as well as others to explain their serious weight loss. The individual has an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though they are underweight. Anorexia Nervosa becomes a way to cope with personal distress and emotional pain.



Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by bingeing and self induced purging often related to control issues. Bulimia Nervosa is an obsession with food and weight characterized by repeated overeating, followed by, such behaviors as forced vomiting, laxative use, enemas or excessive exercise. Bulimia Nervosa also tends to dominate their thoughts, undercuts their self-esteem, and threatens their lives. Bulimia Nervosa becomes a way to cope with personal distress and emotional pain.



Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by mass consumption of calories within a short period of time, without counter balancing it with physical activity or purging and is often a result of emotional eating. It is secretive and often done alone. Research is scarce, but it suggests that approximately one-fifth to one-third of people who are obese meet the requirement for Binge Eating Disorder (DSM-IV, 2006). Though not all that who are obese suffer from BED. Binge Eating Disorder is a result of a lack of control. This behavior occurs as a result of depression, anxiety, emotional pain, among other things. It can also be characterized by eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry. Many of those with Binge Eating Disorder are more likely to develop Anorexia Nervosa and/or Bulimia Nervosa.



Orthorexia is the new found obsession of Great Britain. "According to the experts, sufferers with the obsession for healthy eating tend to be aged over 30, and are middle-class and well-educated. The condition, which affects equal numbers of men and women, is described as a "fixation on righteous eating". The condition, named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, involves rigid eating that includes not touching sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn, and dairy foods. It can leave some sufferers malnourished, lead to pressures in their personal relationships, and make them become socially isolated."


* It is not uncommon for some to develop what looks like one type of eating disorder then flip to another.

Did you know?

The 5 Primary Contributors to Eating Disorders are:


  1. Genetics

  2. Interpersonal Environment

  3. Media (Television, billboards, etc.)

  4. Trauma or various life changes

  5. Society