Common Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a group of conditions in which patients form an unhealthy relationship with food. However, despite common conception, eating disorders are not just about food. In fact, these disorders often form as a means to cope with life’s stresses and problems in a way to take back some form of control. Eating disorders often greatly impact a patient’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

The various types of eating disorders are as follows:

1. Anorexia nervosa

People having this type of eating disorder have a severe habit of not consuming food and assuming that they have gained weight. They decrease the regular intake of food and limit their nutrient consumption. They manipulate their calorie intake by various types of purging behaviors. Although they might be underweight, they have a severe fear of gaining weight.

2. Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder where the person uncontrollably consumes huge quantities of food in a very short time span and purge. They usually don’t accept that they don’t have control over their urge to eat and continuously consume food. The side effects of bulimia are sore throat, tooth decay, swollen salivary glands, worn-out tooth enamel, hormonal imbalance, and dehydration. Sometimes severe cases of bulimia can cause electrolyte imbalance leading to stroke.

3. Binge eating disorder

People with binge eating disorder consume food uncontrollably and regularly and in a very short span of time. But unlike people with bulimia, they do not vomit, purge, and restrict their calorie intake or exercise. It’s the most common disorder in the country. This condition begins at an early stage but can develop later on.

4. Rumination disorder

People with this condition generally regurgitate i.e., swallow, vomit and swallow back. They generally tend to chew back the swallowed food or spit it out after chewing. This typically occurs in the first 30 minutes of chewing, and this isn’t a reflex action but a voluntary decision.

5. Pica
Pica is a common eating disorder where people tend to crave non-food substances like detergent, paper, wood, chalk, and other unhealthy substances. This usually affects women who are expecting a child, people with mental disorders and small children who tend to eat things that shouldn’t be consumed as food.

6. Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder
Children are usually affected by this condition. Here the individuals stop eating food caused by lack of interest, or due to smell, taste or certain color which triggers them. It can develop during childhood and can continue until adulthood.

5. Purging disorder
Here the individual uses purging techniques like vomiting, diuretics, laxatives or severe dieting and exercise to digest the food that they have consumed.

6. Night eating syndrome
Here the individuals wake up from sleep and start eating. This eating disorder is common in individuals with anxiety and sleep disorders.

7. Orthorexia
Here the individuals have an obsession towards eating healthy so much that it disrupts their lifestyle. They have a tendency to prove their self-worth by following the self-imposed diet rules which are harsh on them. They may even stop hanging out with people who prefer going outside to eat.