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The 12 Types of Eating Disorders

Our relationship with food can be complicated.

Food nourishes our bodies and fuels us with energy to seize the day.  It also has the power of bringing people together and motivating us to be creative with flavors and combinations.

Yet, how we eat, think, and feel about food can vary greatly depending on our genetic traits, physical and mental state, environment, and culture.

Developing an eating disorder is more common than we think, but it’s not a choice nor something to treat lightly.  Eating disorders are serious illnesses that can hinder daily activities and cause life-threatening complications.

If you are struggling with eating behaviors that interfere with your physical, psychological, and social functions, you may be experiencing an eating disorder. 

Feeling shame, guilt, or wanting to avoid the issue is expected.  Couple that with the stigma around mental health, and you get an uphill battle that seems impossible to conquer.  But healing is possible.

Understanding eating disorders, warning signs, and treatment options is the first step in your recovery journey.  If you or a loved one have been affected by an eating disorder, don’t wait— contact us today to get the help you deserve.  

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are severe mental illnesses marked by persistent disturbances in eating behaviors that affect your physical and emotional health, carrying over to all areas of your life.

Not only do eating disorders impact functioning and wellbeing, but they also have the risk of serious medical and even fatal complications.  They can co-occur with other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Thankfully, with the right support and care, eating disorders are also very treatable. 

Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders are not only experienced by women or indicated by low weight.  You cannot know if someone is experiencing an eating disorder by simply looking at them.  These conditions can affect anyone and become silent illnesses, making awareness and early intervention critical for a successful recovery.

Common Signs (Symptoms) of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can impact individuals in many different ways and vary depending on the specific condition.

Here is an umbrella of common warning signs of an eating disorder:

  • Drastic changes in eating behaviors (restriction or increase of food intake)
  • Significant changes in weight (weight loss or gain)
  • Obsession about body shape, calorie intake, dieting, or weight
  • Gastrointestinal issues (acid reflux, constipation, ulcers)
  • Mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Excessive exercising
  • Eating alone or in secret
  • Disappearing or going to the restroom right after eating
  • Hiding food or having food disappear at home, school, or work

If you or your loved one are exhibiting these symptoms, contact us today.  We are here to help.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are several types of eating disorders.  Clinical eating disorders are in diagnostic manuals (such as the DSM) and are the most commonly diagnosed and researched.  Informal eating disorders outside of these manuals are also important to consider.

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Approaches to Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Psychodynamic Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy

Relational Therapy

Mindfulness-based Therapy

Holistic/Body-Mind-Spirit Therapy

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