The nine types of eating disorders

Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a result of an eating disorder. When thinking about eating disorders, many people think of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder. But did you know there are actually 9 types of eating disorders?

1. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by undereating, fear of weight gain, and a distorted body image. People with anorexia usually restrict calories or certain foods with the goal of weight loss. It is important to note that a person does not have to look extremely thin to have anorexia, however, people in larger bodies may not be diagnosed due to cultural bias.

2. Bulimia Nervosa involves eating lots of food in short periods of time, followed by purging it in ways such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, fasting, or overexercising.

3. Binge Eating Disorder is eating large quantities of food, often quickly, to the point of discomfort. People may feel a lack of control when binge eating and may cause feelings of guilt and disgust afterward.

4. Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) was formally known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, and it includes characteristics of the three main eating disorders but may not match the diagnostic criteria entirely. People with OSFED are just as likely to die as a result of their eating disorder as those with anorexia or bulimia.

5. Orthorexia Nervosa is an unhealthy obsession around healthy eating. People with Orthorexia adopt extreme diet changes to improve health. Although it is not formally recognized as an official eating disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, it may cause stress around food and imbalanced diets. Read more about here.

6. Avoidant Restricted Food Intake Disorder is similar to anorexia in that it involves restrictions in the amount and/or types of food consumed. However, it does not include distress about body shape, size, or weight. This is similar to picky eating; however, not enough food and nutrients are consumed to promote health, growth, and body function.

7. Pica is an eating disorder where people consume non-food objects that provide no nutritional value. Some examples may be chalk, paper, soap, and ice. Many times Pica is caused by an iron-deficiency or malnutrition.

8. Rumination involves regular regurgitation at least once a month that is not due to a medical condition, such as reflux disease.

9. Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder is when people have disordered eating characteristics but do not fit the mold of the previously listed eating disorders. Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important life areas due to disordered eating behaviors.

All eating disorders are serious and can have terminal effects if left untreated. If any of these eating disorders resonate with you or a loved one, please know that help is available. You are not alone. Recovery is possible. Your life is worth it. You are worth it.

Check out the National Eating Disorder Association for more information.

I believe in you.

With tons of love,