Types of Eating Disorders

Types of Eating Disorders

Roughly 5% of the population struggles with an eating disorder. There are a few eating disorders, but the most common ones are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. They can affect anybody and do not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or class. It predominantly affects females between 12 and 35 but an increasing number of males are developing eating disorders. They can occur due to biological, psychological, or social factors. Individuals who struggle with their identities and self-image or have gone through trauma are more susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in eating patterns. It becomes a disorder when food and eating patterns affect your everyday life. Disordered eating is when there is distress and concern about an individual’s weight or body shape. Often eating disorders are comorbid conditions with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fork and Knife on Empty Plate - Types of Eating Disorders Article by The Therapy Centre

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is characterized by the restriction of food intake. Individuals often do this from the fear of gaining weight and have a distorted view of their body. To lose weight, these individuals excessively diet, fast, and exercise. Over time symptoms develop from starving and purging behaviours like dizziness, brittle hair, heartburn, irregular heart rhythms, and stress fractures. Anorexia can be life-threatening if left untreated. The most effective treatment for children and adolescents is Family Based Therapy (FBT -Family Based Therapy, EFFT-Emotion Focused Family Therapy and EFST- Emotion Focused Skills Training). An evidence-based treatment approach for adults includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Other treatment modalities include Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). Outpatient and inpatient services are also available in hospitals for more severe cases.

Bulimia Nervosa

People with Bulimia have recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food and a lack of control to stop. This is then followed by feelings of guilt and compensating behaviour. Compensating behaviours include vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise, and fasting or extreme dieting. Those suffering from Bulimia can also maintain an average weight and can go a long time without being detected by others. Bingeing and purging are often done in secret. The most effective treatment for children and adolescents is Family Based Therapy (FBT, EFFT and EFST). An evidence-based treatment approach for adults includes CBT. Other treatment modalities include EFT, DBT and IPT. Some antidepressant medications are used in addition to therapy.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge-eating involves eating a large amount of food (usually comfort foods) in a short period of time quickly. One of the diagnostic criteria for Binge eating is having at least one bingeing episode per week for 3 months. Binge episodes are typically associated with negative emotions. Individuals often feel shame and embarrassment from their behaviours and may even avoid social situations. Some symptoms that may occur due to frequent bingeing are diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. The most effective treatment for children and adolescents is Family Based Therapy (FBT, EFFT and EFST). An evidence-based treatment approach for adults includes CBT. Other treatment modalities include EFT, DBT and IPT.

What Can You Do

If you feel like someone close to you is suffering from an eating disorder, it is essential to be informed. As eating disorders are often associated with feelings of shame or pain, the individual may be ambivalent about seeking help.

If you feel like you have an eating disorder and the thoughts of food, weight, or body image are causing feelings of distress, you can contact the Therapy Centre. The Therapy Centre has skilled Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychotherapists who can offer treatment for eating disorders and body image issues. Our clinicians are trained to effectively treat a wide variety of mental health issues including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, stress and relationship issues.

Our offices are located in Hamilton at 849 Upper Wentworth Street, Oakville at 2525 Old Bronte Road and Toronto at 1849 Yonge Street. We are now offering Telehealth services across Ontario including secure phone sessions and videoconferencing as well as in person visits at our offices.

Remember that recovery is possible. For further information on eating disorders and resources you can go to: www.nedic.ca