Mental Health

Eating Disorders

If you have an eating disorder, you may believe that if you can control what you eat, you’ll be able to control your life. But true confidence comes from accepting yourself for who you truly are—and that’s only possible with recovery.

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Eating Disorders FAQs

What are the types of eating disorders?
Types of eating disorders include:
  • Anorexia nervosa, which involves severely restricting your eating habits to lose weight.
  • Bulimia nervosa, where you cycle from binging-eating to purging or excessively exercising to lose weight.
  • Binge-eating disorder, when you lose control of your eating and consume large amounts of food at a time.
  • Pica, which involves eating things that are not considered food.
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), where you’re unhealthily selective about the foods you eat.
  • Rumination disorder, where regurgitated food is chewed or eaten again.
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). If your symptoms don’t match any of the above conditions, a doctor might diagnose OSFED. Abnormal nighttime eating habits that harm your health is an example of an OSFED.
What qualifies as an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is a condition where your eating habits have a negative impact on your life, damaging your health, well-being, and outlook.  Many people feel unhappy with their body image at some point in their lives and might use diet and exercise to boost their confidence. However, an eating disorder isn’t a lifestyle choice. Rather, it is caused by distorted thoughts or intense emotions that contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food. The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.
What is the major cause of eating disorders?
Eating disorders are likely caused by a combination of factors. Research shows that they can run in families, so genetics may be partially responsible. Social factors, such as being teased about your weight or experiencing pressure to maintain a certain image, can also contribute to an eating disorder. Psychological factors, such as an anxiety disorder, an inflexible worldview, or a preoccupation with perfectionism, may increase your risk. Sexual abuse and trauma may also play a role.
What’s the most serious eating disorder?
In comparison to other psychiatric issues, anorexia nervosa has one of the highest mortality rates. However, binge eating disorder may be more common than anorexia, thus causing problems for a larger portion of the population. It’s important to remember that any type of eating disorder can have dangerous health implications and should be taken seriously.
Who is most likely to have an eating disorder?
While men can also experience eating disorders, they are more common in women. Teenagers and people in their early 20s are the most likely to develop an eating disorder. However, they can also develop in children or older adults. In terms of race, people of color with eating disorders are less likely to receive an official diagnosis or treatment for an eating disorder.