In the US, at least 30 million people of all demographics suffer from an eating disorder. Additionally, eating disorders cause the most mortalities among any other mental illness; in fact, at least one person in the US dies every 62 minutes due to an eating disorder. So if you’re starting suspect that you have an eating disorder, it’s essential that you get help immediately.
Subsequently, if you think that a friend or family is suffering from an eating disorder, it’s best that you know what kind of eating disorder it is by being informed of all the common eating disorders, so that you can adequately help them and guide them towards getting professional help through a binge eating treatment center of similar facilities.
So here are the different types of eating disorders, their causes, and ways to treat them:
Anorexia nervosa or simply “Anorexia” is one of the most common and well-known eating disorder which often develops during young adulthood, affecting women more than men. Those with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are already underweight. They have the compulsion to check their weight constantly and count calories.
Anorexia has two official subtypes: “restricting type” and the “binge-eating-and-purging type”. Those with restricting type lose weight and stay underweight by limiting what they eat, while those who binge-eat and purge eat either small or large amounts of food and then process to “purge” by vomiting, taking laxatives, and/or exercise excessively.
Those with bulimia nervosa binge-eat abnormally large amounts of food until they’re full, and then proceed to purge by vomiting, fasting, taking laxatives, and doing excessive exercises to compensate. Those with bulimia nervosa don’t have “anorexic thoughts” (i.e. they don’t think that they’re overweight even if they’re already underweight).
The symptoms and behavior of those with bulimia are similar to those with binge-purge anorexia subtype. The difference between bulimia and binge-purge anorexia is that those with bulimia maintain a healthy weight instead of being underweight. Bulimia is often harder to spot as most people with bulimia have healthy body weight; however, bulimia can cause chemical and nutritional imbalances to the bodies which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is currently one of the most common eating disorders in the US. It is quite similar to bulimia and binge-purge subtype of anorexia, wherein the person eats large amounts of food. However, they do not purge or perform compensating activities such as vomiting, taking laxatives, or excessive exercising. Those with binge eating disorder are often overweight or obese and lack self-control during binge eating episodes.
Eating disorders can be caused by biological factors such as hormonal issues, genetics, and nutritional deficiencies. It can also be caused or influenced by psychological factors such as negative body image or having poor self-esteem. However, most of the time, eating disorders are caused by environmental and societal factors such as family issues, professions and careers that promote weight loss, childhood trauma, peer pressure, and stressful life and/or relationship changes.
There are many treatments to help eating disorders: there are medical care and monitoring, proper nutrition, psychotherapy, and medications that would resolve mood and/or anxiety symptoms. There are treatment centers and organizations that help people with binge eating disorders and other eating disorders available nationwide as well.
Having an eating disorder is indeed a serious issue, and can be triggered and caused by numerous biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Luckily, many treatments and professionals are available to help you and your loved ones out.