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Hey everybody, welcome to HealthyBFF! Today, we’re going to go over 10 Types of Eating Disorders .
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Eating disorders are very emotionally distressing to the person suffering from them and those closest to them. In this video we give you a good understanding as to what different illnesses there are, the symptoms to look out for, the causes and how you can help, so be sure to watch it to the end.
Main Part of Video:
Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses. People of all ages, gender ethnic groups and background can be affected.
It is still only very recent that eating disorders have been recognised as mental illnesses, associated with underlying thoughts and feelings, rather than an issue with food alone.
The problem can often be recognised through a person’s behaviours before any physical symptoms become apparent. Victims often don’t recognise that they even have a problem, and acceptance is an important step towards healing.
If the way you eat is taking over your life then you could have an eating problem.
We now explain the 10 most common eating disorders in a little more detail:
1) Anorexia Nervosa
Probably the best recognised eating disorder, and brought to the public’s attention in films and documentaries, such as ‘Dying to be Thin’ and ‘The Best Little Girl in the World’.
Anorexia Nervosa typically starts in adolescence, and women are more likely to be affected than men. People affected by Anorexia Nervosa view themselves as overweight and reduce calorie intake to become and remain thin. They may be showing skin and bone, which to others might seem painfully thin, but when they look in the mirror all they see is a fat body.
Excessive exercise often accompanies the lack of eating, with the aim to further reduce body fat, weight on the scales and visual bulk. They tend to constantly monitor their weight and avoid eating certain types of foods.
Common symptoms include:
- being extremely underweight compared to people of similar age and height
- having very restricted eating patterns
- being incredibly afraid of putting on weight
- obsessive about becoming and staying thin and not wanting to stick in the healthy weight range for their body type and shape
- poor self-esteem
- a misconception or even denial as to what they actually look like
2) Bulimia Nervosa
This too usually starts in adolescence and is more prevalent with women than men. People suffering from Bulimia Nervosa binge eat and then purge themselves through vomiting. Eating is often done in secret and they cannot control how much they eat.
Use of laxatives, enemas, fasting and excessive exercise often go hand-in-hand with the over-eating and purging.
The vomiting creates some serious side effects. Stomach acid is very damaging to the throat and also causes tooth decay. Acid reflux is common, as are hormonal disturbances and dehydration.
3) Binge Eating Disorder
It wasn’t until 2013 that Binge Eating Disorder was recognised as its own disorder. And before the 1990s, when it was first understood to be an illness, it had been labelled as compulsive eating, eating addiction, amongst other unhelpful terms.
People with Binge Eating Disorder will overeat, but don’t purge and so tend to be overweight or obese. It is now clear that this too is very much a mental illness.
Medical complications due to being overweight are serious and can leave victims with additional life-long problems they need to manage. Side effects include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and infertility.
Pica is most commonly associated with pregnant women. We’ve all heard about pregnant women craving unusual foods, but what is interesting with Pica is that they crave non-food substances.
The choice can be very strange and not really limited to anything specific. People have known to want coal, earth, paper, stones, cleaning chemicals, wood… the list is endless.
Aside from pregnant women, children and people suffering from mental disabilities are often also those who might fall into this category.
Malnutrition and iron deficiency can cause Pica, and treating with supplements or vitamins can remove the issue.
It is worth pointing out that in some cultures it is normal to eat non-food items, socially acceptable or part of religious ceremonies.
5) Rumination Disorder
With Rumination Disorder people have an urge to regurgitate the food they just swallowed, chew it and swallow it again or spit it out.
It may happen with young infants (3 to 12 months) and will often go away by itself. In adolescents or adults it is more complex and usually requires professional treatment or therapy. The rumination typically occurs within the first 30 minutes after a meal. Unlike medical conditions like reflux, it is voluntary.
Rumination Disorder is not yet fully understood, but causes are thought to be physical illness, stress, neglect (particularly in children, a way for them to get attention) or as part of a mental illness, linked to anxiety and depression.
6) Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
Previously known as AFRID “feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood” it is now also recognised to occur in adults.
In children Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder may be linked to how the body develops. We are programmed to spot natural dangers and so it may be a way to warn the child not to eat anything poisonous – were we still living in the wild.
Children’s senses are much more highly tuned than adults and that also explains why they baulk at eating certain foods, like broccoli and sprouts, which adults happily consume. The sulfurs in these brassica will smell and taste of rotten eggs to children, but are at levels undetectable to most of us adults.
Individuals with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder experience disturbed eating either due to a lack of interest in eating or distaste for certain smells, tastes, colors, textures, or temperatures. This results in:
- Not eating enough calories
- Weight loss and nutrient deficiency
- Poor physical and mental development
- Unusual eating habits, which interfere with normal social functioning
- Reliance on supplements, perhaps even needing to be tube-fed
7) Night Eating Syndrome
It might just sound like the type of midnight feast you had with your friends when you were kids but Night Eating Syndrome is something quite different. It can be very distressing for individuals, especially if they are putting on weight.
People tend to eat at least a quarter of their daily calories after dinner. They wake up to eat and often have the belief that eating is needed to get back to sleep. The fact that they have these unusual eating patterns tends to be a concern, adding to the anxiety associated with this illness.
The unusual eating habits further impact on sleep, causing insomnia.
People suffering from Night Eating Syndrome have a lack of appetite when they wake, but have a strong urge to eat a lot between dinner and bedtime. Depressed moods, that worsen in the evenings, compound the situation.
Different to Binge Eating Disorder, people with Night Eating Syndrome don’t eat large quantities of food in one sitting, instead eat smaller amounts frequently over a longer period of time or throughout the night.
Some initial research has indicated that there may be a genetic link, but a lot more work is needed on this before accurate conclusions can be drawn.
8) Purging Disorders
As the name implies, people suffering from Purging Disorders find ways to remove food from their body, usually through self-induced vomiting, overuse of laxatives, enemas, fasting and excessive exercise.
They have a fear of gaining weight and the management of food in their life ends up seriously affecting their personal life, work and emotional state.
This is when someone has an obsessive focus on eating healthily.
You might think, how could that be an issue, but when it impacts on normal day-to-day behaviours it becomes a problem.
People tend to eliminate entire food groups and so become nutrient deficient in certain areas; this affects growth and development.
They tend to fear eating out of home, in places where they cannot control what goes into their mouth.
People suffering from Orthorexia are not focussed on losing weight, rather it’s more about sticking to self-imposed rules.
10) OSFED (Other Specified or Feeding Disorders)
If a person’s behavioural, psychological, and physical symptoms don’t fit a certain eating disorder category their illness will be classed as OSFED.
Examples of such illnesses are:
- Atypical Anorexia: where the person’s weight stays in the typical range for their body shape and height, even though they are not eating properly.
- Low frequency / limited duration Bulimia Nervosa: the person’s binge/purge pattern doesn’t fit what doctors would expect to see.
- Low frequency / limited duration Binge Eating Disorder: the person’s binge pattern doesn’t fit what doctors would expect to see.
Everyone has a different eating habit to the next person. You might feel hungrier on some days to other days but as long as eating and food do not overtake your life then you are unlikely to have an eating disorder. Unfortunately, many people do suffer from one of the range of illnesses we have discussed above.
Eating disorders are typically linked to underlying mental health issues and these must be addressed in helping with the problem. In extreme cases not eating properly can lead to death.
There are nowadays many sources of help for eating disorders. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, as a starting point I would advise you to talk to a person you trust and a doctor. If you have concerns that a friend or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, speak to them, contact a helpline or even a medical professional for further guidance.
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