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Know The 7 Common Eating Disorders In Teens And Adults

Eating disorders are common psychological conditions that impose unwholesome eating habits among teens and adults. In some cases, eating disorders are responsible for serious health issues and, if remain untreated, may cause death. Different types of eating disorders can happen at any stage of life irrespective of gender; these are common in adolescents and young women.

Several studies have claimed that nearly 13% of youth may experience at least one eating disorder by their 20s.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

  • A distorted body image
  • Skipping meals
  • Frequent weight changes
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rash
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Tooth cavities


Causes of Eating Disorders

There is no particular reason for eating disorders.

Causes of Eating Disorders

Several health experts believe that multifarious factors, including family history, genetic disorders, psychological problems, etc. are responsible for eating disorders.

7 Common Types of Eating Disorders

Let’s take a look at common types of food disorders.

1. Anorexia Nervosa

This popular eating disorder usually affects young adults and adolescents. More women are affected by this disorder than men.

Common symptoms are:

  • Controlled eating habits
  • A fear of accumulating weight though being underweight
  • Don’t want to maintain a healthy weight
  • Over possessiveness regarding body shape
  • A distorted body image

Types:  Anorexia can be divided into two subtypes and they are the restricting type and the binge eating & purging type.

People who are of restricting types may often lose weight through dieting, fasting, or vigorous exercise. On the other hand, those with binge eating and purging type may splurge on a heavy quantity of food or eat very little. After eating, they perform purge with activities like vomiting, laxatives, or diuretics.

Anorexia can damage your body. People who are suffering from this may have infertility, brittle bone, or in severe cases, may suffer from multiple organ failure or even death.

2. Bulimia Nervosa

This type of disorder also affects adolescents and younger adults. People with bulimia usually eat large quantities of food in a stipulated time.

Common symptoms are:

  • Persistent binge eating without any control
  • Frequent inappropriate purging behaviors to prevent weight gain
  • Over possessiveness regarding body shape and weight
  • Though having a healthy weight, always a fear of weight gain

Side effects of bulimia nervosa may include sore throat, swollen salivary glands, tooth cavity, tooth decay, acid reflux, severe dehydration, and hormonal disturbance.

If remain untreated, bulimia may create an inequality of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium. This may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

3. Binge Eating Disorder

This is a common eating disorder, especially in the United States of America.

Common symptoms are:

  • Eating large quantities of food repeatedly, though they may not feel hungry
  • Inadequate control during incidents of binge eating
  • Distress feelings like embarrassment, disgust, or guilt, when talking or thinking about binge eating
  • They don’t have purging habits like calorie control, vomiting, rigorous exercise, or laxative or diuretic use, to overcome their binge eating

Most people who have binge eating disorders are overweight or suffering from obesity. They also suffer from various complications related to excess weight, such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

4. Pica

People who have pica disorder often eat non-food items like dirt, soil, chalk, soap, paper, hair, cloth, wool, pebbles, laundry detergent, or cornstarch. Children, adolescents, and adults may get pica disorders. This order is mostly found in children, pregnant women, and people with mental disabilities.

People who have pica may also suffer from poisoning, infections, gut injuries, and nutritional deficiencies. Depending on consumable items, pica may be fatal.

Eating non-food substances may not be a part of someone’s culture or religion. Sometimes, the relatives or neighbors of a person may not accept this condition socially.

5. Rumination Disorder

This is a new-fangled eating disorder where a person regurgitates their previously chewed food items. They often re-chew it or spit it out.

This happens after 30 minutes of a meal. This voluntary condition may develop either in adulthood or childhood. This disorder may occur at any stage of life. Sometimes, infants may develop it between 3–12 months of age and then resolve it gradually. If it is not resolved in childhood, rumination disorder may lead to weight loss and severe malnutrition.

Adults may need to control this behavior in public when they eat something. People may lose weight more frequently with this eating disorder.

6. Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

This is a new name of a previously existing disease called “feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood”. Though it is common among children, still, younger adults may suffer from this disease.

People with this disorder may not show adequate interest in eating or distaste for certain smells, tastes, colors, textures, or temperatures.

Common symptoms are:

  • Limitation of food intake
  • Weight loss
  • Improper development according to age and height
  • Nutritional deficiencies or often rely on supplements or tube feeding

This is a disorder where people used to undereat due to lack of interest or certain dislikes, including look, smells, or taste.

7. Night Eating Syndrome

People with this disorder used to eat at night more frequently, even after awakening from sleep.

Other common disorders are purging disorder, orthorexia (used to eat only healthy food items), and so on.

Eating Disorder Treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications are used to treat bulimia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy categorizes and swaps improper thoughts to help change the behavior and emotional state of an affected person. Anorexia can be treated with nutritional feeding, medications, and other psychological treatment methods.

The Bottom Line

Eating disorders are mental conditions that demand proper attention and treatment. Instead of hiding, if you have eating disorders, consult a doctor. If they remain untreated, then they can be fatal or life-threatening.

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