What are the different types of eating disorders?
Different types of eating disorders can 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 asking us whether or not a person may be suffering from eating disorders. 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. Often, 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 specializing in working with clients who have eating disorders. Our dietitians help evaluate your loved ones 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 in 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 quite misunderstood, but we are here to help you realize that the disorder is not your fault. It is a combination of genetic and environment factors that trigger symptoms. Also important to remember is that there is hope and complete recovery is possible.
Read on to understand the different types of eating disorders.
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 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.
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. 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.
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, 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, we can help you reclaim it!
Bulimia Nervosa can include restriction as well 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 needs an experienced team including dietitian, therapist, psychiatrist, medical doctor and the patient. Our dietitians can help you to reduce and eliminate behaviors and nourish yourself with a variety of foods.
Orthorexia is the term used when “healthy” eating goes too far. This might also be putting too much focus on nutrition to solve a medical diagnosis or symptom that starts whittling away at food groups or the variety of foods/nutrients eaten. This can lead to malnutrition and affect physical and mental health as well as become isolating to the person that becomes rigid around what food they will or will not eat. This may start to 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.
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.