Eating Disorders: Major Types and Symptoms
In the United States alone, approximately 10 million men and 20 million women will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening conditions that are characterized by unhealthy eating habits such as food binges or purges. They often begin with an obsession with food, body shape, or weight. Eating disorders can affect one’s mental and physical health and even lead to death in severe cases.
Eating disorders are treated with a combination of medical care and psychological intervention such as dialectical behavior therapy. Treatments and symptoms may vary, depending on the type of eating disorder.
Below are common types of eating disorders:
People with Anorexia nervosa consider themselves overweight, even if they’re dangerously underweight. They resort to persistent behaviors such as binge eating and excessive physical activity in order to lose weight.
Those with anorexia constantly track their calorie intake and follow restricted eating patterns. They are unwilling to maintain a healthy weight and often disguise their appearance and eating habits.
Over time people with anorexia may experience:
- Abnormal blood counts
- Bluish discoloration of the fingers
- Dry or yellowish skin
- Fainting or dizziness
- Thinning or falling hair
- Intolerance of cold
- Irregularity or absence of menstruation
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by eating large amounts of food and then getting rid of the calories via self-induced vomiting, excessive physical activity, or misuse of laxatives or diet pills.
After a binge episode, individuals may experience gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Repeated bingeing episodes may result in:
- Acid reflux
- Chronic stomach discomfort
- Gastric dilation and gastric perforation
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Low energy, sleepiness, and sluggishness
Pica is a condition that involves consuming nonfood items such as soil, soap, chalk, sand, paper, cloth, hair, pebbles, or cornstarch.
Pica typically occurs in children, pregnant women, and individuals with mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Depending on the items consumed, pica may even result in loss of life.
Complications associated with pica include:
- Blockages in the digestive tract
- Gut injuries
- Kidney or liver disease
- Lead poisoning
- Nutritional deficiencies
Rumination disorder is a behavioral condition in which a person repeatedly and unintentionally regurgitates partially or undigested food digested food from the stomach. Then rechews it and either spits or swallows it again.
Since the food has yet to be digested, it is non-acidic and tastes normal. Rumination usually happens after every meal. The condition is typically observed in individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Rumination syndrome can cause:
- Bad breath
- Dental erosion
- Social isolation
Begin your healing at CCBH
If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to seek professional help. There are many treatment options for you.
The Center for Cognitive and Behavior Therapy provides a safe and supportive space for individuals dealing with eating disorders. By engaging in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), people can learn how to effectively regulate behaviors and emotions to improve quality of life.
Call us at 1-888-745-3372 to schedule an appointment.