Types of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders can present with various symptoms, but the most typically seen are the severe restriction of food, binging, and purging behaviors such as vomiting or over-exercising after eating. The three most commonly diagnosed eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
Anorexia is usually distinguished by abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image perception. People who live with anorexia tend to severely restrict the amount of food they eat and obsess about every calorie they take in. The extreme efforts they take to control their food intake and weight often significantly interfere with their lives.
Bulimia typically involves binging large amounts of food and then purging in an attempt to get rid of the extra calories. Purging may consist of induced vomiting, use of laxatives, enemas, or diuretics after binging to prevent weight gain.
People with anorexia or bulimia are often preoccupied with body weight and self-image, although neither condition is really about food. They’re a method of coping with emotional issues. People who may feel powerless over many aspects of their life will start restricting their food intake, which offers them some semblance of control.
Binge eating disorder (BED) involves recurrent episodes of consuming large quantities of food in a very short amount of time. There is often a feeling of loss of control and shame and guilt associated with the binges. BED differs from Bulimia in that there are usually no episodes of purging afterward.
BED is often confused with overeating. Overeating means eating more calories than are necessary to maintain current weight and health. While the urge to eat can be hard to resist, BED is characterized as an impulse control disorder and involves compulsive behaviors.