What Are the Common Types of Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s relationship with food and body. It all starts when someone starts to develop small unhealthy habits, such as obsessively weighing themselves. If not corrected, it can lead to even worse eating habits, such as restricting food drastically, binging, or vomiting.
Unfortunately, eating disorders are becoming a common issue. Today, you’ll be learning about the most common types of eating disorders and what their symptoms are in order to identify them.
Anorexia nervosa is the most common type of eating disorder and affects a lot of people, especially teenagers and young adults. Anorexia distorts a person’s perception of oneself, making them believe that they are overweight, even if they might be extremely underweight.
People with anorexia monitor everything they eat and restrict themselves from eating a certain amount of calories or food. Symptoms include:
- Restrictive eating patterns
- Distorted body image
- Fear of gaining weight
- Being underweight.
If not treated on time, anorexia can be damaging to the body. For example, it can cause brittle hair and nails, infertility, and in severe cases, heart and organ failure, and even death.
Bulemia Nervosa is another common eating disorder that, similar to anorexia, is common among teens and young adults. A person who suffers from bulimia nervosa eats an abnormally large amount of food at specific times. When a bulimic person experiences a binge-eating episode, they eat non-stop without having the ability to control how much they consume, leading to terrible abdominal pain.
Binge-eating episodes usually occur around the foods that bulimic people tend to avoid. And after binging, they try to purge or vomit all the food they ate to compensate. Other typical behaviors in people with bulimia nervosa are:
- Taking laxatives
- Forced vomiting
Physical symptoms of bulimia include tooth decay, acid reflux, got problems, sore throat, and dehydration. In more severe cases, it can cause an imbalance of sodium, calcium, or potassium, which can provoke a stroke.
Pica is an eating disorder that makes people crave unedible things. People who have pica can crave things such as laundry detergent, rocks, hair, soap, chalk, or even dirt. Pica can affect people of all ages, even kids.
Because pica causes people to eat non-food substances, individuals with this disorder run a high risk of suffering serious infections, poisoning, nutritional deficiencies, and negative changes with orthostatic vitals. In some cases, pica can be fatal, depending on the person’s consumption.
However, eating certain non-food substances is considered normal in some countries and cultures. So, in order for someone to have pica, their cravings can not be socially accepted.
Types of Eating Disorders—Explained
Learning about the types of eating disorders can help you create awareness of these issues and hopefully find a treatment that works. If you know anyone that is manifesting symptoms of an eating disorder or who has a poor relationship with food, be supportive and encourage them to seek professional help. If you’d like to keep learning about similar topics, be sure to keep exploring our blog.