Eating disorders are not uncommon and can affect anyone. Like other misunderstood mental health disorders, it’s not something that people can control. If there is no intervention, it could lead to other health problems.
These eating disorders are diagnosed based on the criteria manuals provided for doctors such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The person experiences an intense fear of becoming fat and gaining weight. Even if he/she is losing weight, he/she does not recognize the danger and still pursues a specific body image by refusing to eat more. That means the patient is no longer aware of how to properly evaluate his/her weight prescribed for the age, sex and development of the body. Anorexia nervosa is not just avoidance of or restricting food intake. There is also a second type that resorts to binge eating.
His condition is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating. Binge-eating is uncontrollably eating more than what the person usually consumes. Later, the patient feels that he/she has to compensate for eating by vomiting, fasting, and excessive exercise to prevent weight gain. They do not significantly lose a lot of weight like patients with anorexia nervosa.
Binge Eating Disorder
Eating too much at one time until the person feels full and uncomfortable is binge eating. The person might also consume the food very fast and eat when not even hungry. This is accompanied by a feeling of guilt afterwards for eating too much. He/she might also attempt dieting sometimes. Persons with this disorder gain excessive weight. This condition is treated as a separate disorder from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Both however can exhibit binge eating as a symptom.
The name is taken from the Latin name for the bird magpie. It’s notorious for its appetite. Pica is usually accompanied by other medical conditions like impaired functioning and mental health disorders. This is common among children. The child eats non-nutritive and non-food items like dirt. They crave for the item even if they are restricted.
Rumination refers to the first step of the digestion process—chewing. A person with rumination disorder repeatedly regurgitates food even without retching, disgust or nausea. Sometimes the food is chewed again and swallowed. Like pica, this is also common among kids. It has no known causes.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
ARFID is characterized by the person’s failure to meet the nutritional and energy needs of the body. This might be due to weight loss, nutritional deficiency, dependence on other nutrient sources like supplements, and impaired psychosocial functions.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder
OSFED is given as a diagnosis if the person has any one of the disorders listed above but fail to fully meet all the criteria. The disorder must be causing distress or impairment in other life functions. Examples of OSFED are night eating syndrome (excessive eating after dinner) and atypical anorexia nervosa (no noticeable weight loss).