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Unknown Problems Surrounding Eating Disorders

Week commencing 8th March was Eating Disorder awareness week. Just like anything, there are many different forms of eating disorders. The Seven different eating disorders are; Anorexia Nervosa, Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), Pica and Rumination.

Eating disorders affect 725,000 people in the UK each year. It is also highlighted that women are more than twice likely to be affected by eating disorders than men. Source [Eatingdisorders] (1)

This blog covers; What an eating disorder is? Defining each of the different eating disorders mentioned above. How eating disorders can affect you mentally and physically. As well as further help you can receive and offer. Moving onto the end of the blog we will look at eating disorders in teenagers/young adults. Unfortunately, these numbers are quickly rising.


What is an eating disorder?

An eating disorder is when someone has an unhealthy relationship with food. This unhealthy relationship is so apparent it can overtake their life and become controlling over their choices. Be that by overeating or under eating. Someone with an eating disorder may find their behaviour towards eating changes. For example, they may worry a lot about their weight and shape, make sudden major changes to their diet, avoid social situations that involve food and/or make themselves vomit after meals.

Factors that may indicate suffering from an eating disorder?

Eating disorders can vary how they are presented in everyone. However, when being diagnosed with an eating disorder factors that will be looked out for are;

  • Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements leads to significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health.

  • A negative perception of food where it begins to feel as if it is taking control of your life.

Different kinds of eating disordered

All eating disorders will have symptoms and factors in common. However, each one will be different in its aspect. Many people when thinking of eating disorders often think of being underweight (Anorexia) being one of the most common eating disorders there is. Although, someone can have experiences with eating disorders meaning they become overweight.

Here we can look at what each different disorder may display:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is a well-known eating disorder. It generally develops during adolescence or young adulthood often affecting women more than men. People with anorexia tend to view themselves as overweight, even though they are more often than not, severely underweight.

Symptoms are:

  • Your weight is higher or lower than expected

  • Having an unusually low BMI

  • Missing meals, eating very little or even avoiding eating at all

  • Believing you’re fat when you're a healthy weight or even underweight

  • Taking supplements to reduce your appetite

  • Your periods stopping due to poor diet and weight

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is an eating disorder where someone becomes avoidant/restrictive with their food intake. All ages can suffer from eating disorders and children may suffer from ARFID. Children with AFRID may be extremely picky eaters and have little interest in foods. This disorder leads to a lack of nutrition and development.

Binge Eating Disorder

Suffering from a binge eating disorder means that someone eats a large amount of food in a short period until they feel uncomfortably full.

People will often:

  • Plan to binge in advance

  • Binge on snacks rather than eating meals

  • Choose to binge alone

  • Often lie about how much they have eaten

  • Eating even when not hungry

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa can leave an everlasting and have many effects on your body. Bulimia is where someone will eat then shortly following make themselves sick or even take some laxatives in fear that they will gain weight or the feeling of being full can make them feel uncomfortable.

Bulimia can create:

  • Swelling of the face - After excessive throwing up your cheeks and eyes may begin to swell.

  • Severe mood changes

  • Often being dehydrated.

  • Lack of energy.

  • Loss of hair.

Physical effects are:

  • Intestinal problems.

  • Tooth decay.

  • Swollen salivary glands (sialadenosis)

  • Acid reflux.

  • Organ failure.

  • Reproduction problems.

  • Brittle bones.

Unfortunately, Bulimia is more common in ages 13-17.

Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED)

OSFED itself is not an eating disorder in particular. This is a category doctors use when someone is displaying all the traits and symptoms as well as experiencing what someone with an eating experience would experience. However, their weight is not creating a concern to the professionals.


Pica is an eating disorder that involves eating items that are not typically thought of as food and that do not contain significant nutritional value, such as hair, dirt, and paint chips.

Pica can often take place alongside other Mental Health disorders such as:

  • Schitazprina

  • Autism

  • Intellectual disabilities

Typical substances ingested tend to vary with age and availability. They may include; paper, soap, cloth, hair, string, wool, soil, chalk, talcum powder, paint, gum, metal, pebbles, charcoal, ash, clay, starch, or ice.