6 Types of Eating Disorders and How to Get Help (2023)

Eating disorders are more common than you may think. Surveysestimatethat 20 million women and 10 million men in the US will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. And some health experts are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a rise in new or recurring eating disorders.

Eating disorders can affect anyone, including celebrities and athletes.Taylor Swiftis one celebrity who opened up about her history with disordered eating in theNetflix documentary, Miss Americanawhich came out in early 2020.

Someone as high-profile as Swift coming out and talking about starving herself sparks a discussion about the intense scrutiny women endure about their weight and appearance, and the disordered eating behaviors many use to achieve an "ideal" body. Those behaviors are dangerous, often difficult to treat and can even be deadly.

Read on to learn about what you should know about eating disorders and how to get help if you or someone you know struggles with those behaviors.

Eating disorders can take many forms

Anorexia (self-starvation) and bulimia (bingeing followed by compensation like vomiting or excessive exercise) are two of the most commonly-known eating disorders, but there are many different types. Someone can also have disordered eating behaviors (like obsessively counting calories or categorizing each type of food as "good" or "bad") without meeting the criteria for a diagnosis.

According to the the American Psychiatric Association, eating disorders can fall into the following categories:

  • Anorexia Nervosa -- self-starvation
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder -- having an obsession with viewing the body in an imaginary way, the person suffering often sees themselves in a mirror as bigger than they actually are
  • Bulimia Nervosa -- bingeing large amounts of food, followed by a pattern of compensating like vomiting, over exercising or using laxatives
  • Binge Eating Disorder -- eating large amounts of food with feelings of loss of self control and guilt
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder -- restricting or avoiding certain foods to the point where someone can't meet their nutritional needs
  • Other or Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder -- if someone meets some of the symptoms of a categorized eating disorder or displays other behaviors that cause negative emotional or physical effects

It's important to know that anyone can have an eating disorder, even though they are stereotypically tied to young, straight and white females. Eating disorders can happen to anyone at any age, regardless of sex, gender, race or sexual orientation.

(Video) 6 Types of Eating Disorders

It is also a misconception that someone has to be thin or "skinny" to be diagnosed with an eating disorder or disordered eating habits. The distinguishing factor is not how much someone weighs, but the manner in which their relationship with food or body image impacts their daily lives. Eating disorders are just as concerning and harmful for someone with a larger body as someone with a smaller one.

6 Types of Eating Disorders and How to Get Help (1)

What can lead to an eating disorder?

Eating disorders can be triggered by a number of complex factors. According to the National Eating Disorders Association(NEDA) those can include "a combination of long-standing behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal and social factors."

Eating disorders are not a "choice," and it's hard to pinpoint exact causes, which have roots in genetics, emotional health and social environment.

Some common experiences known to trigger eating disorders, according toNEDA include:

Bullying.Whether online, on social media or in person, bullying is a major trigger for many people. Whether in real life or online, even just one encounter with a bully can affect someone for the rest of their life.

Comments from others. Any type of comment, about someone's body, weight, or appearance can be a trigger. In a Variety interview about the documentary, Swift recalled the first time she was on the cover of a magazine. "And the headline was like 'Pregnant at 18?' And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment."

Perfectionism.A major risk factor for eating disorders is perfectionism or someone with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionists often place extreme amounts of pressure on themselves to be perceived in a certain way.

(Video) 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders and Their Symptoms

A history of anxiety.Research has shown that those with a history of an anxiety disorder are more likely to develop an eating disorder.

Weight stigma and societal or media pressure.Society has consistently praised an "ideal body image." This norm says, especially for women, that the thinner you are, the more beautiful and attractive people will find you. This harmful image, especially prevalent in social media, is also tied to media norms that place immense pressure on women and teenage girls to look sexy. This type of objectification of women's bodies is also one of the driving factors behind harmful attitudes that are tied to high rates of violence and sexual abuse against women.

Trauma.If someone experiences trauma that's left untreated or unresolved, it can be a driving factor in an eating disorder. Studies have showna strong link between bulimia and binge eating disorder, specifically in someone who's experienced trauma. One likely cause is that someone who's experienced trauma feels the need to control something in their life when everything else feels out of control.

How to navigate the media to help protect yourself from body shame

When you scroll through social media images or see people on TV or in the movies, it's natural to compare yourself with others. But just because that's a natural instinct, doesn't mean you don't have control over what you see.

Swift mentions that when she was healing from her disordered eating, she found people like Jameela Jamil (an actress and leader in the body positive space) and Brene Brown helpful for navigating shame, especially as it relates to body image.

View this post on Instagram

(Video) Signs of an Eating Disorder

Welcome to our new community members 📣 We see you, we hear you, we are here for YOU! 🌍 “We can’t believe we are almost at a MILLION followers on @i_weigh a movement that started as a rebellion against eating disorder culture has moved on to become how we all fight back against erasure and shame in general. Watching so many people from so many backgrounds embrace their power and redefine their worth outside of what our ignorant and reductive society deems their value to be ... is the most beautiful part of my career. I make an @i_weigh whenever I feel like I’m loosing touch with my own worth, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you don’t feel confident to post it publicly, just making one is so empowering. Capitalism wants us to buy stuff this month, so we are being doubled down and dissatisfied with ourselves. Fight back with gratitude and self love.” - @jameelajamilofficial #iweigh #welcome #jameelajamil #selflove #community

A post shared by I WEIGH 📣 (@i_weigh) on

(Video) 6 common types of eating disorders ?#disorders #mentalhealthawareness #eating

If you follow accounts that praise unhealthy and unrealistic body image, unfollow or "mute" them from your feed so you don't see them. Find and follow more body-positive people like Jamil, Lizzo, and Katie Sturino among many others.

How to get help

If you think you may have an eating disorder, it's important to reach out for help. If you're not sure if you need help, the National Eating Disorder Association has an online screening tool that can help you get clarity around if you should seek professional help. You can also contact their helpline if you need to talk to someone.

Treatment for an eating disorder usually involves a number of approaches, including nutritional and psychological counseling. Treatment options will address the physical and medical symptoms, as well as the other personal factors that could be contributing to it.

For more information on how to get help and treatment options, visit the National Eating Disorder Association.

(Video) 11 Less Known Eating Disorders

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


What are the 6 types of eating? ›

Elizabeth Healthcare nutritionist to discuss the six types of eating patterns, and how to make the best of them.
  • Emotional Eater. This person tends to eat when they're happy, others when they're sad or stressed. ...
  • Unconscious Eater. ...
  • Habitual Eater. ...
  • Critical Eaters. ...
  • Sensual Eater. ...
  • Energy Eater.
Feb 28, 2017

What do you think is the solution for the eating disorders? ›

Treatments include: Psychotherapy: A mental health professional can determine the best psychotherapy for your situation. Many people with eating disorders improve with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of therapy helps you understand and change distorted thinking patterns that drive behaviors and emotions.

What are 3 common reasons why people have eating disorders? ›

Certain factors may increase the risk of developing an eating disorder, including:
  • Family history. Eating disorders are significantly more likely to occur in people who have parents or siblings who've had an eating disorder.
  • Other mental health disorders. ...
  • Dieting and starvation. ...
  • Stress.
Feb 22, 2018

What are the six 6 major components of food? ›

There are six major nutrients – water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Why do we eat 6 classes? ›

Food is needed for growth, it provides nutrients to the body, it provides energy to the body. Food is extremely important for keeping the immune system of the body healthy. A food is something that provides nutrients.

What's the most serious eating disorder? ›

Anorexia Nervosa

Experts consider anorexia nervosa to be the most deadly of all mental illnesses because it has the highest mortality rate. For this reason, we can consider it to be the most severe of the 12 types of eating disorders.

What is the most common eating disorder in the world? ›

Eva Schoen, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and clinical director of eating disorders services at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, says binge eating disorder, or BED, is the most common eating disorder, even though it's not talked about as much as other eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.

What are the 6 signs of anorexia nervosa? ›

  • Extreme weight loss or not making expected developmental weight gains.
  • Thin appearance.
  • Abnormal blood counts.
  • Fatigue.
  • Insomnia.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers.
  • Hair that thins, breaks or falls out.
Feb 20, 2018

What is the first goal for most treatment plans for anorexia? ›

The first goal of treatment is getting back to a healthy weight. You can't recover from anorexia without returning to a healthy weight and learning proper nutrition. Those involved in this process may include: Your primary care doctor, who can provide medical care and supervise your calorie needs and weight gain.

Is it a choice to have an eating disorder? ›

It is also very important to note that families or the person suffering are not the cause of eating disorders. Eating disorders are not a choice. They are not a fad, phase, or type of lifestyle. The person suffering needs professional help just as if that person had broken a leg.

What are 3 examples of disordered eating behaviors? ›

Some of the most common types of disordered eating are dieting and restrictive eating. Others include self-induced vomiting, binge eating, and laxative abuse. (see Dangerous Eating Behaviours for a more complete list). There are several types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

What age is most likely to have an eating disorder? ›

The most common age of onset is between 12-25. Although much more common in females, 10 percent of cases detected are in males.

What is it called when you don't like eating? ›

Overview. Anorexia is a general loss of appetite or a loss of interest in food. When some people hear the word “anorexia,” they think of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.

What is the root of all eating disorders? ›

Psychological and emotional problems such as low self-esteem, perfectionism, behavioral inflexibility, impulsive behavior, and troubled relationships are huge contributors to eating disorders.

What are the six 6 factors that affect the food you eat? ›

Some examples of these influences that contribute to an individual's food choices include individual factors, such as knowledge, personal taste preference, mood, hunger level, health status, special diet requirements, ethnicity, and personal income.

What are the six classes of food and their deficiency? ›

They are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water and fibre. These groups include about 50 nutritional items. They are necessary for good health and growth in which each of these nutrients plays an essential role in the functioning of the human body.

What are the 6 Pillars of Nutrition? ›

The idea revolves around six specific aspects of health that you can target for crucial nutritional support using vitamins, minerals, and botanical nutrients. This big six are Heart Health, Brain Health, Joint Health, Energy/Stamina, Vision, and Skin.

Why should you not eat only one type of food for Class 6? ›

Our body needs a variety of macro and micronutrients for the proper functioning of our body. This requirement is fulfilled by eating a variety of food and vegetables. Sticking to just one kind of fruit or vegetable can lead to nutritional deficiency. Fill your plate with a variety of fruits and veggies.

What is a food class 6? ›

Answer: Eatables taken by human beings and animals which provide them energy for various activities, for growth and good health, are called food.

Are there 6 or 7 classes of food? ›

There are more than 40 different kinds of nutrients in food and they can generally be classified into the following 7 major groups:
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Proteins.
  • Fats.
  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Dietary fibre.
  • Water.
Dec 4, 2017

What is Bigorexia disorder? ›

Teens with a condition known as bigorexia are obsessed with bodybuilding and getting more muscular. Bigorexia is a mental health disorder that primarily affects teen boys and young men.

Which eating disorder is the hardest to treat? ›

Anorexia is difficult to treat and has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder in adolescence.

What is the number one eating disorder in the US? ›

Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S. Symptoms include: Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period.

Has everyone had an eating disorder? ›

When it comes down to it, no— not everyone has an eating disorder. Not everyone spends their days trying to find ways to be in control of their diet and their life. Not everyone has the perpetual anxiety of how they will get out of the next meal.

Can everyone get an eating disorder? ›

Eating disorders can affect people of any age, race, gender or sexual orientation. They are often diagnosed in teenagers and young adults, but many people are first diagnosed with an eating disorder in later adulthood. Sometimes the first signs and symptoms develop at a much younger age.

Does every woman have an eating disorder? ›

Most women do not suffer from a clinical eating disorder, yet so many have an unhealthy relationship with food and measure their self-worth by dress size or the number on a scale. From an early age, women are bombarded with messages about what to eat and how their bodies should look.

What are two red flags for anorexia? ›

If you are concerned that you or someone you know has anorexia, watch for these red flags that may indicate the need for anorexia treatment: Frequent comments about feeling fat or overweight, despite weight loss. Consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food.

What are 3 warning signs of bulimia? ›

  • Being preoccupied with your body shape and weight.
  • Living in fear of gaining weight.
  • Repeated episodes of eating abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting.
  • Feeling a loss of control during bingeing — like you can't stop eating or can't control what you eat.
May 10, 2018

What are the last stages of anorexia? ›

The Signs of Late-Stage Anorexia
  • Blotchy or yellow skin.
  • Dry skin.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold.
  • Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
  • Notable loss of muscle and fat.
  • Lowered sex drive.
  • Hair loss.
Dec 7, 2022

What is the gold standard treatment for anorexia? ›

(See "Anorexia nervosa in adults and adolescents: The refeeding syndrome".) Psychotherapy — Standard treatment of anorexia nervosa includes psychotherapy.

Which is the most common technique to treat anorexia nervosa? ›

However, many people with anorexia do see an improvement with therapy. CBT and IPT are the most established treatments for binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. FBT is the most established type of therapy for children and adolescents with anorexia nervosa, and may also be beneficial for those with bulimia nervosa.

At what point do you get hospitalized for anorexia? ›

The Academy of Eating Disorders recommends inpatient treatment for anyone at or below 75% of their ideal body weight. This is a general suggestion for medical professionals, not a hard and fast rule.

Can I say I have an eating disorder without being diagnosed? ›

If you have cause to suspect an eating disorder within yourself or believe a loved one is struggling, don't waste time. While you can't diagnose an eating disorder, you can be perceptive of the signs and make appropriate judgment calls of when it's time to get someone professionally and medically involved.

Can you not be skinny and have an eating disorder? ›

People with eating disorders can be underweight, can be overweight, and anywhere between. Regardless what someone may weigh, eating disorder behaviors can have serious—sometimes fatal—health consequences.

Who can tell me if I have an eating disorder? ›

Eating disorders are diagnosed based on signs, symptoms and eating habits. If your doctor suspects you have an eating disorder, he or she will likely perform an exam and request tests to help pinpoint a diagnosis. You may see both your primary care provider and a mental health professional for a diagnosis.

What are the 4 types of eating habits? ›

The Four Types Of Eating
  • The four types of eating are Fuel, Fun, Fog, and Storm.
  • Fuel Eating is when you are eating foods that support your body and its needs. ...
  • Fun Eating is eating any foods that you love to eat that don't necessarily give you anything back. ...
  • Fog Eating is anytime you eat without awareness.
Jul 22, 2015

What disorders are often seen along with eating disorders? ›

There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Eating disorders often co-occur with other psychiatric disorders most commonly mood and anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and alcohol and drug abuse problems.

What are 4 characteristics of anorexia nervosa? ›

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women, and extremely disturbed eating behavior.

Can you be hospitalized for not eating? ›

Hospitalization for eating disorders

Hospitalization may be necessary if you have serious physical or mental health problems or if you have anorexia and are unable to eat or gain weight. Severe or life-threatening physical health problems that occur with anorexia can be a medical emergency.

Can eating disorders stop you from having kids? ›

Eating disorders and infertility both affect millions of people, but that's not the only link they share. Having an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, can make it more difficult to conceive. Unfortunately, patients can still experience fertility issues, even after receiving treatment for an eating disorder.

Can a 2 year old have an eating disorder? ›

Infantile anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that has its onset during the early developmental stage of separation and individuation between the ages of six months and three years. Infantile anorexia nervosa is characterized by food refusal and leads to failure to thrive.

What is it called when you starve yourself? ›

Anorexia. If you get an anorexia diagnosis (known as anorexia nervosa), you're not eating enough food. This means you're not getting the energy you need to stay healthy. Some people think anorexia is about slimming and dieting, but it's much more complex.

Why am I not hungry after not eating all day? ›

Mental health conditions, like anxiety, depression, and stress, can all have a negative effect on hunger levels. Other physical conditions, such as pregnancy, hypothyroidism, and more, can also cause a decrease in appetite.

What is last bite syndrome? ›

Each bite of a food or sip of a drink is enjoyed less than the previous one, a familiar phenomenon called "sensory-specific satiety." So consuming a larger portion means that the average enjoyment of the food or drink being eaten is reduced.

What are the names of the eating disorders? ›

Common types of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).
  • Anorexia. ...
  • Bulimia. ...
  • Binge eating. ...
  • ARFID. ...
  • Anorexia can lead to health problems caused by undernutrition and low body weight, such as:

Which eating disorder is probably the most common? ›

Binge eating is actually the most common type of eating disorder in the United States. Binge eaters tend to eat large quantities of food in a short period of time. They may feel out-of-control during their binge and eat whatever's handy, whether they want it or not.

What part of the brain has to do with eating disorders? ›

Body signals

One is the orbitofrontal cortex, which is involved in signaling us when to stop eating. Research has found that people with anorexia and bulimia have structural and functional differences in this area, Frank says.

What are the different eating styles? ›

Based on this, there are several main types of eaters: omnivores, carnivores, pollotarians, pescetarians, vegetarians, and vegans. These recognizable groups can be mixed and matched as well as divided into lesser-known subgroups depending on certain dietary restrictions.

What are the 7 main food types? ›

There are more than 40 different kinds of nutrients in food and they can generally be classified into the following 7 major groups:
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Proteins.
  • Fats.
  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Dietary fibre.
  • Water.
Dec 4, 2017

What are the levels of eating? ›

The more aware you become, the more discriminate you can be in your food selection, creating more accountability and responsibility.
  • Level One: Eating for Pleasure.
  • Level Two: Eating for Energy.
  • Level Three: Eating for Recovery.
Feb 21, 2020

What is fog eating? ›

Fog eating – consuming more food than you need, often without being genuinely hungry – can happen almost without you realising.

Who was the first vegan ever? ›

One of the earliest followers of what we now consider a vegan diet was Arab philosopher and poet Al-Maʿarri who abstained from animal products for his health and beliefs on the transmigration of souls and animal welfare.

What are rare eating disorders? ›

Orthorexia. Orthorexia is a form of eating disorder, still unrecognized in the DSM, wherein a person becomes obsessed with “healthy eating.” While many people make a point to be aware of the ingredients and sourcing of their food, orthorexia can become detrimental to the person's health.

Are eggs vegetarian? ›

Are Eggs Considered Vegetarian? By definition, vegetarianism is classified as excluding any form of animal flesh (the tissue, muscles or meat of an animal). The humble egg doesn't fall into this category and is therefore included in a vegetarian eating pattern.

What are the 6 best foods? ›

Healthy foods to eat every day: 6 of the best
  • Lean protein.
  • Cruciferous vegetables.
  • Different colored vegetables.
  • Berries.
  • Nuts.
  • Olive oil.
  • Summary.
May 27, 2021

What are the 12 types of food? ›

What are the five food groups?
  • Fruit and vegetables.
  • Starchy food.
  • Dairy.
  • Protein.
  • Fat.
Oct 11, 2019

What is level 6 food? ›

Level 6 is soft and bite-sized food. The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative 2016 iddsi.org/framework. We may recommend that you follow this diet if: • it has been prescribed or recommended by your doctor. • you have difficulty chewing food, but can still chew bite-sized pieces.

What are Level 7 foods? ›

Chewy foods, such as lollies, sweets, cheese chunks, marshmallows, chewing gum, sticky mashed potato, dried fruits and sticky foods. Crispy foods, such as crackling, crispy bacon and cornflakes. Crunchy foods, such as raw carrot, raw apple and popcorn. Sharp or spiky foods, such as crisps or corn chips.

What order should you eat? ›

But did you know that the order in which we eat our food also has an impact on our health? According to nutritionist Lovneet Batra, a good way to help the body digest better is to first have vegetables, followed by proteins and fats, and finally starch.


1. Eating Disorders - What You Need To Know
2. Treatment for Eating Disorders
(Psych Hub)
3. Why are eating disorders so hard to treat? - Anees Bahji
4. What is an Eating Disorder?
(Psych Hub)
5. 6 Types of Eating Disorders
(Pars Health TV)
6. 5 Signs of an Eating Disorder & What To Do
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 01/09/2023

Views: 5522

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.