An eating disorder can be described as a disorder in which a person either avoids eating altogether or eats in such a way that it adversely affects his physical as well as mental health. In extreme cases, it might become life-threatening as well. Though seemingly a simple problem, eating disorders can affect each and every aspect of the concerned person's life - his work, relationships, day-to-day activities, and the like. The reasons that might lead to an eating disorder in a person can be classified as environmental factors, biological factors, developmental failures in early relationships and trauma. Let us know more about the most common types of eating disorders that people are facing in the present world.
Common Eating Disorders
One of the most common eating disorders to be seen in the world today, anorexia nervosa is mainly psychiatric in nature. In this disorder, a person goes through a complete distortion of his body image and ends up thinking himself to be extremely fat, even when he is excessively thin. Suffering from an obsessive fear of gaining weight, he starts indulging in voluntary starvation, excessive exercise or other weight control measures (such as diet pills or diuretic drugs).
In bulimia nervosa, a person displays binge eating on a recurrent basis. The most distinguishing symptom of this disorder is that after eating, the person indulges in compensatory behavior, such as self-induced vomiting (the most common), over exercising and even use of laxatives, enemas or diuretics. On the basis of this behavior, the disorder has been classified into two types - Purging (involves vomiting) and Non-purging (involves excessive exercise or fasting).
A person suffering from the disorder of binge eating is seen to experience episodes of uncontrollable overeating. He may either eat much more food than the other, in the same amount of time, or eat much faster during binge episodes than normal eating. Those suffering from binge eating disorder do not need to feel hunger, in order to eat anything. They eat when they are sad, depressed or even bored, usually alone and till the time they start feeling uncomfortable.
Orthorexia nervosa is the disorder in which a person suffers from an excessive fixation with healthy food, in order to feel pure, healthy and natural. In other words, the disorder indicates excessive focus on eating healthy foods by people, while carefully avoiding certain foods, especially those containing fats, preservatives and animal products. At times, their dietary restrictions become so extreme that they end up suffering from malnutrition.
Selective Eating Disorder
In selective eating disorder, as the very name suggests, a person indulges in picky or fussy eating. He deliberately avoids the consumption of certain foods, on the basis of either texture or aroma. In extreme cases, the person might avoid whole food groups altogether, such as fruits or vegetables. Those suffering from selective eating disorder feel safer in sticking to certain types of foods only and, in some cases, even specific brands of the food items.