Eating disorder (A guide)

In this brief blog, we will be discussing the definition of an eating disorder, the diagnosis of an eating disorder, the symptoms of an eating disorder, and more information about eating disorders.

What are eating disorders in abnormality?

In psychological abnormality, eating disorders are a class of psychological disorders where symptoms are emphasized on eating habits.

Unhealthy eating habits are predominant in these kinds of disorders such as using laxatives, vomiting after eating large amounts of food, and restrictive eating. 

Eating disorders were considered mental disorders because people who have these kinds of disorders are endangering themselves due to their unhealthy eating habits.

Psychological interventions for people with these kinds of disorders are created to help these people find better ways of coping and learn that weight is not something to overwhelm themselves with.

In this case, eating disorders arise due to the need of meeting the ideal body weight that is basically the trend nowadays.

The ideal body weights of men and women are different and most people would look at these ideal body weights of each gender to know what they should be paying attention to. 

Nutritional doctors are very disregarding the concept of ideal body weight since all of us are born with different body shapes which affects what out normal weight should be.

You can learn more about body shapes and the ideal weight considered by each gender by buying this book on this website.

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is one of the most popular eating disorders known to people.

This kind of psychological disorder arises in the early adolescent years of men and women.

People with anorexia nervosa always think that they are overweight when they look at themselves in the mirror even when they have already gone to their thinner states.

These people are always checking their weight, avoiding foods that they have read that will make them food, and do activities that will restrict their weight as much as possible such as overexercising.

Common signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa in affected people are the following:

  • being considerably underweight than people of the same age and height
  • very inhibited eating patterns
  • an overwhelming fear of increasing weight or constant behaviours to prevent increasing weight, despite being considered underweight
  • consistent pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to remain a healthy weight
  • a huge influence of body weight or perceived body shape on self-confidence
  • a delusional body image such as the denial of being incredibly underweight

Obsessive-compulsive symptoms are also typically manifested in anorexia nervosa.

This is shown when people with this kind of eating disorder will constantly check their food intake and hoard food between meals due to extreme hunger.

People with anorexia nervosa find it uncomfortable in eating alone where they will have to restrict their food intake as much as possible even if they’re at their favourite restaurants.

This kind of eating disorder has been subdivided into two types which are the restrictive type and the purging type.

People with anorexia nervosa restrictive type will do excessive exercises and minimize food intake to lose weight.

People with purging type may eat lots of food or little amounts of food. 

In both these types of anorexia nervosa, these affected people will vomit excessive or little amounts of food or use laxatives to immediately take away all the calories out.

As you can see, this kind of eating disorder is very detrimental to the affected person’s body. 

If affected people have been engaging with the restrictive behaviours in anorexia nervosa, they are more likely to observe the bristling of nails, the thinning of hair, and the non-existence of a waist.

If this eating disorder becomes chronic, affected people may have other medical conditions involving the brain, heart, and other vital organs in the body.

Another type of eating disorder, called as the Orthorexia Nervosa is quite similar to anorexia.

Also, Anorexia is curable and can be easily treated by a number of different treatments.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder that is well-known like anorexia nervosa.

Similar to anorexia nervosa, this eating disorder can occur in the adolescent years to early adulthood.

People with bulimia nervosa will regularly eat large amounts of food in a certain amount of time.

This binge episode won’t stop until the person feels overwhelmingly full. 

In the course of the binge episode, these affected people tend to not notice how much they are eating and would have no control over their eating.

These binge episodes tend to contain foods that people with bulimia nervosa would commonly avoid.

Then, people with bulimia nervosa will overcompensate their heavy eating by vomiting all the food contents to minimize discomfort in the gut.

Typical purging or vomiting actions involve forced vomiting, laxatives, fasting, diuretics, excessive exercise, and enemas.

The signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa will present like the behaviours of the purging type of anorexia nervosa.

The only difference is that these affected people would rather keep their normal weight than reaching thinness.

The typical signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa are the following:

  • repeating episodes of binge eating with a feeling of loss of control
  • repeating episodes of inappropriate purging behaviours to avoid weight gain
  • self-esteem heavily affected by body shape and weight
  • fear of increasing weight, despite having a normal weight

There are also physical side effects of purging behaviours in bulimia nervosa which may involve an inflamed and sore throat, worn tooth enamel, swollen salivary glands, tooth decay, irritation of the gut, acid reflux, severe dehydration, and hormonal disturbances.

If this kind of behaviour is done for a long time, there will be inappropriate levels of electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, and potassium. 

This lack of vital nutrients may cause a stroke or a heart attack.

You can learn more about bulimia nervosa by buying this book on this website.

Binge-eating disorder

Binge-eating disorder is the most diagnosed eating disorder in the world, particularly in the United States.

This eating disorder also develops in the early adolescent years to early adulthood but it may appear later than the common time it presents.

People with binge-eating disorder have similar signs and symptoms presented in people with bulimia nervosa and the purging type of anorexia nervosa.

People with this eating disorder tend to eat large amounts of food at a short period of time and they can’t control their binge episodes.

People with binge-eating disorder don’t engage in restrictive diets nor do excessive exercise to not gain weight.

The typical signs and symptoms of this eating disorder are the following:

  • eating huge amounts of foods speedily in private and until uncomfortably full, despite not feeling hungry
  • feeling a loss of control during episodes of binge eating
  • feelings of distress such as shame, guilt or disgust when thinking about the binge-eating behaviour
  • no engagement in purging behaviours such as vomiting, calorie restriction, excessive exercise, or laxative or diuretic use to overcompensate for the binging

As you might have guessed, people with binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese in standards.

This may enhance these affected people’s risk of getting medical conditions related to an excess of weight such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.


Pica is a kind of eating disorder where the affected person eats something else other than food.

People with this eating disorder will eat non-nutritional substances such as ice, dirt, soil, soap, chalk, paper, cloth, hair, wool, laundry detergent, pebbles or cornstarch.

Adolescents, children, and adults can have pica even in the mature age.

Case studies have found that this eating disorder can occur in infants, pregnant women, and people with intellectual disabilities.

People with pica will be increasing in getting the following dangerous conditions such as poisoning, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and gut injuries.

These outcomes will be based on what substances did the affected person take in the duration of this eating disorder.

Additionally, the diagnosis of pica should be based on that the substances taken are not part of one’s culture.

This is in relation to the deviance factor in diagnosing psychological disorders from normal snippets of behaviour.

You can learn more about pica as an eating disorder by buying this book on this website.

Rumination disorder

Rumination disorder is the new addition of the class of eating disorders in psychology.

This is an eating disorder where the affected person chews and swallows the previously chewed up bits of food and may even vomit out.

This rumination behaviour usually happens after 30 minutes in completing a meal.

This is different from a medical condition called reflux since this behaviour is voluntary.

Rumination disorder has its onset in infancy, childhood or adulthood.

In young infants, this behaviour may happen during the first 3 to 12 months before it fades away after this period. 

Children and adults who are diagnosed with rumination disorder are prescribed with therapy to fix this behaviour.

If this behaviour is not eliminated by infancy, it may lead to malnutrition and poor nutrition when these affected infants grow older.

Adults with rumination disorder are more likely to minimize their food intake, especially in public.

This can lead to these affected adults being underweight from the restriction of food intake.

Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder

Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder is another eating disorder that was renewed from an old term of an eating disorder.

The feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood was the old name of this eating disorder which was often diagnosed in children who were under 7 years old.

Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder was usually diagnosed in infants and children but this eating disorder can occur in adults as well, especially to adults who already had this disorder in the younger years.

This eating disorder equally occurs in both men and women.

People with avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder are very selective of their food intake since most of them would not eat certain foods due to colours, shapes, texture, and even the temperature of the room.

Typical signs and symptoms of this eating disorder are the following:

  • avoidance or restriction of food intake that stops the person from eating enough calories or nutrients
  • eating habits that disturb the normal social roles such as eating with others
  • weight loss or low physical development for age and height
  • nutrient deficiencies or tolerance on supplements or tube feeding

It is important that people with avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder don’t follow any kind of developmental changes such as picky eating in some adults.

This eating disorder doesn’t also apply to situations where there is no more food or religious practices.

You can learn more about avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder by buying this book on this website.

Other specified eating disorders in psychological abnormality

There are also other eating disorders that aren’t as typical as those listed above.

These eating disorders fall under one of the three categories mentioned in the following:

  • Purging disorder. People with purging disorder typically use purging behaviours such as vomiting, diuretics, laxatives or extreme exercising to manage their weight or shape. However, these people do not have binge episodes.
  • Night eating syndrome. Individuals with this syndrome regularly eat extremely, typically after awakening from sleep.
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder. While this eating disorder is not found in the DSM-5, this contains any other disorders that have symptoms similar to those of an eating disorder but don’t fit into any of the classifications above.

An eating disorder is related to the other specified feeding or eating disorder is the disorder called orthorexia.

This kind of eating disorder has been mentioned in several psychological pieces of literature and may be proposed to an additional eating disorder in the DSM.

People with orthorexia are compelled to achieve healthy dieting that it causes dysfunction in one’s daily life.

This is shown when the affected person doesn’t take certain food groups which may cause their health to deteriorate. 

This kind of behaviour can lead to early malnutrition and lacking the nutrients to work properly in life.

People with orthorexia don’t focus on losing their weight even if they are overweight. 

People with orthorexia are more focused on being able to control their diet plans through their eating habits.

Several influences that create eating disorders

Researchers have found that eating disorders are caused by several influences and factors.

One of these influences is biological which is genetics. 

Twin and adoption research have found that hereditary can be a factor in the development of eating disorders.

Personality factors can also be influencing a person’s development of these kinds of disorders. 

Specifically, neuroticism, perfectionism, and conscientiousness are personality attributes that make some people have eating disorders.

Cultural expectations are one of the main influences for the causation of this kind of disorder.

Some of these factors may be intertwined to make a person create their eating disorder.

Also, some changes in the brain can also create this kind of disorder in some people.

Specifically, serotonin and dopamine which are neurotransmitter are the strongest influences of creating eating disorders.

You should take into account that more studies must be made to make these direct conclusions.

You can minimize these biological influences that cause eating disorders by making sure your child have the right nutrients and you can find some tips on this book that can be bought on this website.

Treatment for people with different eating disorders

As you can see, these eating disorders can be quite complex to treat with one form of psychological intervention alone.

This is why a large team of mental health professionals will be using a multiple treatment plans for people with this kind of disorder

This treatment plan will be based on the client’s needs depending on the presence of his or her symptoms.

Eating disorders can also be a result of body dysmorphic disorder and thus, the treatment of people with body dysmorphic disorder or eating disorders is going to need a team with nutritionists, medical doctors, and therapists with the following methods of care:

  • Medical Care and checking-The highest problem in the treatment of eating disorders is addressing any health concerns that may have been an outcome of these kinds of disordered behaviours.
  • Nutrition: This would include weight restoration and control, guidance for normal eating habits, and the combination of a personal meal plan.
  • Therapy: Different kinds of psychotherapy such as individual, group or family can be helpful in addressing the hidden causes of eating disorders. Therapy is a basic piece of intervention because it affords an individual in recovery the chance to address and heal from traumatic experiences and learn healthier coping strategies and methods for expressing feelings, communicating and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Medications: Some medications may be effective in helping restore mood or anxiety symptoms and signs that can happen with an eating disorder or in minimizing binge-eating and purging behaviours.

Outpatient support groups and inpatient treatment are available for people who are suffering from eating disorders.

In this case, it is important for people with any of these disorders to immediately seek medical and psychological professional help.

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In this brief blog, we have discussed the definition of an eating disorder, the diagnosis of an eating disorder, the symptoms of an eating disorder, and more information about eating disorders

If you have any inquiries about eating disorders, please let us know and the team will gladly answer you.

What we recommend for eating disorders

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from an eating disorder then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

FAQs: Eating disorder

What do all eating disorders have in common?

All eating disorders have depression and substance abuse problems in common.

The types of eating disorders that are common in the world are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

These kinds of disorders can happen in people with different genders, nationalities, and cultures.

Do I have a problem with food?

You will have a problem with food if you feel anxious about attempting eating a specific food and worried about the consequences of eating certain foods.

You may have some fears of certain foods due to a traumatic experience such as vomiting in a public restaurant due to the food. 

What is food-related disorder?

The food-related disorder is another term for an eating disorder.

As mentioned before, there are several kinds of these disorders which are anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

These kinds of disorders are relevant to the concept of eating foods and most people with this disorder are picky about their foods.

What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a series of behaviours used to reach a particular weight through dieting.

This can be said that this is some sort of dieting behaviour where there is a weight goal. In people with eating disorders, some affected people would have this kind of behaviour to make sure that they get the average weight or the best weight.

What is not eating called?

The behaviour of not eating is called anorexia nervosa.

Although this is only one symptom of this kind of eating disorder.

Some people with this kind of eating disorder would still eat but they only eat small amounts of food which aren’t ideal for the average meal.


Healthline. 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms).

Mind. Eating problems.

NHS. Eating disorders.

WebMD. Signs of an Eating Disorder.

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