What Are the Different Types of Eating Disorders

An eating disorder, as the name suggests, has to do with the way a person eats or does not eat. It is to a large extent psychologically influenced by the state of mind of the patient. There exist different types of eating disorders and most of them strike young adults or teenagers.

The distress and concern about the patient’s body and self image can be helpful in characterizing the eating disorders. The 3 most common of eating disorder types are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating.

Anorexia nervosa

Out of the different types of eating disorders, this is the one most prevalent in teenage girls who are obsessed with body image and gaining weight. Typically the young female patient is totally obsessed with putting on weight. This makes them lower their food intake and exercise too much.

They may be obsessed with putting on weight even if they are seriously under weight. They measure everything they eat in calories and actually manage to starve themselves. The emaciation is one of the most obvious physical symptoms.

The restricted eating and fear of gaining weight can lead to a lack of menstruation in the young girls and women. This can string along other related problems such as infertility. Other problems which can come from malnutrition also begin to show up in the patient. These include brittle hair and nails, dry and flaky looking skin that is very pale, severe constipation, and general sluggishness.

A sense of fatigue may plague the patient. At times a drop in internal body temperature makes the person feel cold all the time.

Bulimia nervosa

While a person with anorexia nervosa is worried about eating anything, a person with bulimia nervosa will eat a great deal. However they will feel guilty about the lack of control over their diet and will subsequently try to indulge in behavior that will compensate for the overeating. This could include inducing vomiting, purging, using laxatives and diuretics or a lot of exercise. These two different types of eating disorders are predominantly found in younger women and teenage girls. They are not very common in boys but may be present.

Another difference between a patient of anorexia nervosa and a patient of bulimia nervosa is that while the former will be underweight and seriously emaciated, the latter will maintain a healthy or almost normal body weight. In fact they have a tendency to be just a bit on the plump side. However therepeated eating and purging sessions leave them with a number of problems such as acid reflux disorder or related gastrointestinal problems. They may have a sore throat and swollen glands in the neck or jaw region. There is considerable dehydration of the body as well.

Binge eating or compulsive eating disorder

Here the patient is just interested in eating. Of the different types of eating disorders this one is characterized by the total lack of control over the patient’s eating. There is no purging or fasting or exercising in this disorder. They are very often over weight and obese. They also run a high risk of all thecardiac related diseases that are related to being obese. All these eating disorders need medical attention immediately. The faster you can identify the symptoms and get the patient to the doctor, the better for all concerned.

Posted in: Eating Disorders

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