What are the different types of eating disorders?

The different types of eating disorders can be confusing.  You or your loved one may have one or more eating disorders, so it is best to get some background information about the types of eating disorders to help you move forward.

Many times people call our office to ask us whether or not a person is suffering from an eating disorder.  We have found the best way to determine if someone is suffering is to have them come into the office for a screening to determine the complexity and severity of symptoms.  Early symptoms are fairly easy to hide from health professionals who are not trained in these disorders, which is why you want to find an Eating Disorder Dietitian, like the dietitians in our office.

On our team, we have three dietitians who specialize in working with clients who have eating disorders. Our dietitians help evaluate your loved one’s symptoms and educate you both on the appropriate treatment. Usually, we will be able to work with you and your loved one to help him/her continue in an intensive outpatient situation unless the complications of the disorder are too severe to be treated on an outpatient basis.

If your loved one does not already have a treatment team, we will help them set up a team of experienced clinicians to foster your loved one’s recovery.  We also make sure to provide adequate support and education for you.

Eating disorders are often misunderstood but we are here to help you realize that the disorder is not your fault.  It is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that trigger symptoms. More importantly, remember that there is hope and complete recovery is possible.

Read on to understand the different types of eating disorders.

Bulimia Nervosa mandala

ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)

ARFID is a feeding disorder that goes beyond picky eating. ARFID is characterized by such selective eating that there may be a total of 10-20 acceptable foods in the person’s diet. This can affect those of all ages. It may cause significant weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, reliance on enteral feeding, and can affect cognitive function. Typically ARFID does not include a body image component to the restrictive nature. Our dietitians can help to start increasing acceptable foods in order to get a more varied, balanced diet.



Different Types of Eating Disorders mandala

Binge Eating Disorder

Did you know that Binge Eating Disorder is actually the most prevalent eating disorder? Binge eating can affect people of any weight. BED usually involves eating large portions of food rapidly and feeling out of control, guilty, or overly full afterward. We know it can be hard to seek treatment for binge eating but it is possible to reduce and stop binge eating. We can help you feel safe and comfortable eating a variety of foods.

Different Types of Eating Disorders mandala

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health illnesses. It is very important that you have a team of health professionals to ensure the safest, most efficient treatment. Anorexia can occur at any body size. We will work with you to decrease the stress around eating meals and achieve the ability to nourish your body in order to have more energy, more focus, better concentration, and to have less thoughts about food. If anorexia has affected your menstrual cycle we can help make recommendations to regain your cycle. Anorexia can take so much away from the joy of life but we can help you reclaim it!

Bulimia Nervosa mandala

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa can include restriction and binge eating along with a component of purging calories through exercise or other means. The methods of purging can cause immediate heart risk to the patient and can require an experienced team including a dietitian, therapist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, and the patient. Our dietitians can help you reduce and eliminate behaviors to nourish yourself with a variety of foods.

Bulimia Nervosa mandala


Orthorexia is the term used when “healthy” eating goes too far. Symptoms might include putting too much focus on nutrition to solve a medical diagnosis or whittling away at food groups or the variety of foods/nutrients eaten. This can lead to malnutrition and can affect the physical and mental health of the individual. It can also become isolating if they are rigid with what foods they will or will not eat as this may affect relationships and meals outside of the home.

Next steps after identifying different types of eating disorders

If you are thinking that you or a loved one might have signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, it is important to contact a health professional as soon as possible.

In the meantime, take a look at these blogs to learn more.

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