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What Are Eating Disorders? (Eating Disorders Exposed)

women with eating disorder, sub sandwich in front of face with a tape measure around her mouth

What are Eating Disorders?

girl looking at empty plate, eating disorders

 “I am forever engaged in a silent battle in my head over whether or not to lift the fork to my mouth.” ― Jena Morrow

Eating disorders are psychological issues characterized by significant and persistent changes in diet, and distressing emotions and thoughts.
They can be life-threatening illnesses that impair physical, psychological, and functional status.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the three primary types of eating disorders.

Eating Disorder Types:

Anorexia Nervosa:
-Self-starvation and weight loss are frequent, resulting in a low weight for one’s height and age.
-Dieting is fueled by a profound dread of gaining weight or becoming obese.
-Restriction and binge-eating anorexia are the two kinds of anorexia.
-Some of the following symptoms below may develop over occur as a consequence of hunger or purging practices.
-Periods of menstruation stop.
-Dehydration causes dizziness or fainting.
-Hair & nails that become brittle.
-Intolerance toward the cold.
-Reflux and heartburn.
-After meals, severe constipation, bloating, and fullness.
-Compulsive exercise-induced stress fractures.
-Depression, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, and fatigue are all symptoms of depression.

eating too much, weight gain, mental health, mental health issues

Bulimia Nervosa-
  • Binge eating is defined as eating a large amount of food in a short period of time associated with a sense of loss of control over what, or how much one is eating.
  • Binges may be very large and food is often consumed rapidly, beyond fullness to the point of nausea and discomfort. Binge behavior is usually secretive and associated with feelings of shame or embarrassment.
Binge Eating Disorder
  • People with binge eating disorder have episodes of binge eating in which they consume large quantities of food in a brief period, experience a sense of loss of control over their eating, and are distressed by the binge behavior.
  • The most effective treatment for binge eating is cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy, and antidepressant medications.
Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder-
  • This diagnostic category includes eating disorders or disturbances of eating behavior that causes distress and impairs family, social, and work function but does not fit the other categories listed below.
  • In some cases, this is because the frequency of the behavior does not meet the diagnostic threshold (e.g., bingeing in bulimia or binge eating disorder).
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder-
  • ARFID is a recently defined eating disorder that involves a disturbance in eating resulting in persistent failure to meet nutritional needs and extreme picky eating.
  • Food avoidance or a limited food repertoire can be due to one or more of the following.
  • Low appetite and lack of interest in eating or food
  • Extreme food avoidance is based on sensory characteristics of foods e.g. texture, appearance, color, smell.
  • Anxiety or concern about the consequences of eating.
  • Interference with social functioning.
  • An eating disorder in which a person repeatedly eats things that are not food with no nutritional value.
  • The behavior persists over for at least one month and is severe enough to warrant clinical attention.
  • Pica often occurs along with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability but can occur in otherwise typically developing children.
Rumination Disorder-
  • Occurs when swallowed food is brought back up into the mouth voluntarily and is re-chewed and re-swallowed or spat out.
  • To meet the diagnosis, the behavior must: Occurs repeatedly over at least a 1-month period, Not be due to a gastrointestinal or medical problem, Not occur as part of one of the other behavioral eating disorders listed above, and Not be associated with intellectual disability.

guy sadly leaning on table stressed out

Final words on eating disorders…

People discredit this type of mental health issue easily. It is not something to be taken that way though. This is a serious issue that should be considered by others on the same level as depression, anxiety, OCD, and others. It is not a joke. Please, if you’re displaying these types of symptoms or you know someone that is, please urge them to see their healthcare provider. It may be the difference between a healthy life and one that doesn’t last long. Everyone needs food. Everyone needs nutrients…but not everyone thinks they deserve them, need them or even want them based on numerous different case studies and some of the information shared above. If you’re having trouble with this type of mental health issue, here is a number to call- National Eating Disorders Association Helpline1-800-931-2237

Mental health in any instance is not a joke. These articles are meant to inform and be educational. If you have a problem, please contact your own healthcare provider. The first step is getting over yourself and accepting help. It’s ok. We’ve all done it and are better for it. You got this.


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