Part 1

National Eating Disorder Week is an annual event meant to raise awareness about the resources accessible to those who suffer from these ailments. 

An eating disorder is defined by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) as conditions expressed through abnormal eating habits; including extreme emotions, attitude and behavior surrounding weight and food issues. These are serious emotional and physical problems. They often begin with an obsession of some sort over food, body weight or body shape. Most of these include severe restriction of food, food binges, or inappropriate purging behaviors like vomiting or over-exercising. 

There are nine types of eating disorders. Every diagnosis of an eating disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, body size, or sexuality. Eating disorders usually affect young women and adolescents. NEDA estimates that 28.3 million Americans suffer annually with an eating disorder.

9 Types of Eating Disorders Explained:

  • Anorexia Nervosa- The most well-known disorder. Relentless pursuit of thinness; the sufferer has a distorted perception of body image as overweight and an intense fear of gaining more weight. These sufferers usually engage in eating food and then purging the food using water, self-induced vomiting, laxatives and other medications. These sufferers are usually dangerously underweight and hide the loss by layering clothes. Develops in adolescence or young adulthood and tends to affect women more than men.
  • Bulimia Nervosa – The 2nd most known disorder. Recurrent episodes of binge eating in a short period of time then purging to compensate for the calories consumed and prevent gaining of weight. Unlike the anorexic, they usually maintain a normal weight or are slightly overweight. Sufferers will fight not to fluctuate from their size by engaging in purging with water, forced vomiting, enemas, diuretics and laxatives. They also engage in excessive exercising and fasting. These people feel as if they have no control overweight control and so are extremists. Tends to develop in adolescence and early adulthood.
  • Binge-eating disorders {BED} – Newly recognized eating disorder yet one of the most common. Sufferers resemble the bulimic and anorexic. The sufferers eat even when not hungry and feel a lack of control during binges. They consume a large amount of food in a short period of time and do not restrict calories or rid it out of their system by self-induced vomiting. These sufferers are usually overweight and oversensitive.
  • Rumination disorder – Newly recognized disorder in which the sufferer regurgitates food they previously chewed and swallowed, then re-chews it and either re-swallows it or spits it out. This typically occurs within 30 minutes of having eaten a meal. Not addressing this disorder can result in severe malnutrition and weight loss that can be fatal. Children and adults with this disorder require therapy to resolve it.
  • Pica disorder – Newer disorder recently recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders {DSM}. These sufferers crave non-food substances such as paper, ice, dirt, soil, chalk, laundry detergent, nail polish, soap, hair, cloth, wool, pebbles or cornstarch. This disorder can occur in everyone from adults to children to adolescents. It is most observed in children, pregnant women and individuals with mental disabilities. These sufferers are at an increased risk of poisoning, infections, injuries and nutritional deficiencies and what they consume can determine fatality or not.
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder {AFRID} – This is the new name for an old disorder that was once known as a “feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood”. This diagnosis was formerly only for children under the age of 7. It generally develops during infancy or early childhood, but can persist into adulthood. It is equally common in men and women. Sufferers experience disturbed eating wither due to a lack of interest in eating or a distaste for certain smells, tases, colors, textures or temperatures.
  • Orthorexia nervosa – The term ‘orthorexia’ was coined in 1998 and means an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating. Although being aware of and concerned with the nutritional quality of the food you eat isn’t a problem in and of itself, people with orthorexia become so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being. The sufferers are fixated on nutritional labels, healthy ingredient counts, concerned about meals being served at upcoming events. Like anorexia, orthorexia involves restriction of the amount and variety of foods eaten, making malnutrition likely. Therefore, the two disorders share many of the same physical consequences.
  • Diabulimia - A serious and often deadly disorder that affects people with type 1 diabetes. It is characterized by the deliberate omission of insulin from the diabetic’s regimen in order to lose weight. Diabulimia can cause long-term health problems, including blindness, kidney failure, and even death. These sufferers fear low sugars, fear getting fat and never eat in public.
  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders {OSFED} is a type of eating disorder, that was given its name because it has different characteristics from those of common and better-understood conditions. It mimics parts of anorexia nervosa, parts of bulimia nervosa and parts of binge-eating simultaneously in the same sufferer. This can make it difficult to diagnose, but there are a range of treatments and solutions available for those that need support.


If you know anyone who suffers from an eating disorder, please contact a physician or nutritionist immediately for counseling and treatment. For more information, you can contact NEDA, National Eating Disorder Association by email at For 24/7 crisis support, text 'NEDA' to 741741 or call (212) 575-6200


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