If you are looking into different eating disorders, you may be researching for yourself or a loved one struggling with food restriction, binge-eating, and/or purging. So, uncovering the truth and the facts about eating disorders is an important place to begin.
While society typically paints a picture of a malnourished, weak, and frail teenage female or woman as the poster child for eating disorders, this stereotype can be inaccurate. Individuals of all ages and from all races, cultures, and genders can suffer from these conditions. More than 30 million people in the U.S. alone live with at least one of the three most common eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
Someone with one of these disorders might be underweight, but it is also possible to be a standard weight or overweight. It’s not easy to tell if someone has a disorder from appearances alone. For this reason, many people struggling with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder suffer in isolation and shame without professional help or proper diagnosis.
Characteristics of the Most Common Types of Eating Disorders
Some of the symptoms and characteristics of the different eating disorders overlap; however, there are also unique traits for each of the three common disorder types.
For anorexia nervosa, characteristics include:
- Disdain for the body and/or continually expressing how unsatisfied they are with their appearance—even if they have a thin or toned body
- A bodyweight 15% or lower than the national average for someone of their height and age
- Amenorrhea, which is the absence of the menstrual cycle
- Extreme food intake restriction
- An overwhelming fear of looking fat or gaining weight
For bulimia nervosa, characteristics include:
- Preoccupation with body weight, shape, and self-image
- Recurrent episodes of uncontrollably eating large amounts of food at least two times each week for three months or more followed by compensatory actions to prevent gaining weight, such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, use of laxatives or diuretics, and other medications
- Obsession with weight loss, dieting, and food control
For binge eating disorder, characteristics include:
- Eating large quantities of food in a brief period of time, two times a week for at least six months. Unlike bulimia, there is no purging involved.
- Eating behaviors tend to be secretive. The individual often hides food or stockpiles food to eat during the times of bingeing.
- While there is great satisfaction while eating, the individual feels remorse, shame, and disgust following the binge.
Experience a New Life Free from Eating Disorders with Positive Living
At Positive Living Psychotherapy, Dr. Maureen Keown brings her caring therapeutic style to provide clients suffering from eating disorders with the support they need to heal. She utilizes a unique blend of traditional and positive psychotherapy to help clients experience a shift in their thinking and build the healthy coping skills necessary to overcome their disorders.
Don’t feel like you are stuck in your struggle! No matter what types of eating disorders you are experiencing, help is available now. It’s time to schedule a one-on-one appointment with Dr. Keown by calling (770) 552-0333.