What is Eating Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people face behavioral issues relevant to eating. Today, we’ll discuss what is eating disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Eating Disorder? 

An eating disorder is a serious mental health condition relevant to persistent eating behavior that badly affects your physical and emotional health. Binge-eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa are some of the main types of an eating disorders.

The focus of such people with eating disorders condition is on food, body shape, and being too cautious about their weight, which results in the form of dangerous eating behavior. Such behaviors would negatively affect the capability of your body to get proper nutrition. The condition can harm your mouth, teeth, bones, digestive system, and heart.

Eating disorder conditions could develop at any age. Usually, it starts in the young adult years and early teens. You can go back to healthier eating habits with proper treatment and reverse the complications caused by the eating disorder.

Types of Eating Disorders 

There are various types of eating disorders. Some of the main types recognized by DSM-5 (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder) are as follows;

Binge Eating Disorder

BED is a very common type of eating disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of binge eating. It comprises consuming a lot of food with the feelings of losing control over it. However, it is common among people with large body sizes. They have got a confounding element of weight stigma relevant to the treatment and development.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa comprises repetitive episodes of binge eating relevant to the compensatory behavior, and it is to make up for the consumed calories. The behavior would comprise using laxatives, excessive exercising, fasting, and vomiting.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa comprises limiting your food intake out of the fear of weight gaining and disturbed body image, and it results in the form of reduced body weight lower than expected. It’s a type of eating disorder that has received the most attention, and it’s least common among people. However, most people are not aware of the fact that the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa is also present among people with larger bodies.


OSFED (other specified feeding and eating disorder) comprises various types of eating issues that would cause significant impairment and distress. But it doesn’t fall under the category of others disorders like binge eating disorders, bulimia nervosa, or anorexia nervosa.

It isn’t true that people with OSFED conditions don’t often feel the worth of getting help. It could become severe and extreme as any other type of subclinical eating disorder. Many research studies have shown that subclinical conditions would develop and become a full eating disorder.


AFRID (avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder) comprises limiting the food intake without the disturbance of body image as you see it in the anorexia nervosa. It happens when you fail to meet the proper nutritional and energy needs of your body.

Orthorexia Nervosa

DSM-5 hasn’t officially recognized orthorexia nervosa as an eating disorder. But it has attracted a lot of attraction as a diagnosis to be included in the future edition. It is completely different from other types of disorders because obsessive behavior doesn’t come from the desire of losing weight. Their focus isn’t on food quantity, but on food quality.

In other words, it’s the unhealthy obsession with eating healthy and quality food. It reaches up to the point of impacting your occupation, social, and healthy life.

Other Eating Disorders

Some of the other types of eating disorders are as follows;

  • Rumination disorder
  • Purging Disorder
  • Pica
  • Night eating syndrome

Symptoms of Eating Disorder 

The symptoms of eating disorders are different for different people. If your behaviors and thoughts relevant to body image, weight, and food are distressing you and disturbing your routine life, then you should reach out for help.

  • Excessively thinking about weight, body image, and food
  • Using diuretics and laxatives
  • Exercising excessively
  • Binge eating
  • Negative body image
  • Significant underweight or change in weight frequently
  • Dietary nutrition

Physical Symptoms

It’s significant to intake nutritionally balanced food for the regular functioning of your body. The eating disorder would impact the physical and mental operations of your life. However, being underweight doesn’t mean that the person is experiencing the medical effects. Some of the main physical symptoms are as follows;

  • Weakened bone
  • Pain and musculoskeletal injuries
  • Delayed first period or loss of menstrual period post-puberty
  • Lanugo or hair loss all over the body
  • Fainting spell
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Dental problem
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Brain mass loss

Causes of Eating Disorder 

An eating disorder is a complicated problem, and researchers don’t know the exact cause of it. Some of the main causes are as follows;

  • Emotional/Psychological Health: people with eating disorders condition are probably facing psychological and emotional problems that may be playing their part. They would be experiencing troubled relationships, impulsive behavior, perfectionism, and lower self-esteem issues.
  • Biology/Genetics: some people have got specific genes that amplify the risk of developing this condition. Other biological factors like changes in the brain chemicals would play their part in developing this condition.

Some of the other environmental factors that may cause it are as follows;

  • Weight stigma
  • Stress
  • Puberty
  • Mental illness
  • Life transition
  • Dieting
  • Bullying
  • Abuse

Treatment of Eating Disorder 

Some of the main treatment plans are as follows;


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a very effective therapy for dealing with eating disorders, and it comprises of following elements;

  • Applications and self-monitoring
  • Relapse preventions
  • Eating regularly
  • Meal planning
  • Body-checking limits
  • Exposure to food
  • Alternatives and delays
  • Body image exposure
  • Cognitive restructuring

Family-Based Therapy

FBT has turned out to deliver the best results for adolescents and children with thing conditions. Family plays a key role in the treatment process; especially the parents offer mental and emotional support to their children at home.

Intensive Treatment

It’s for the people that require an intense level of care. The treatment plan works at various levels like hospital-level care, residential, hospitalization, and outpatients. The multidisciplinary team would offer the best treatment care for the patient.

Conclusion: What is Eating Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is eating disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that eating disorders have a negative impact on your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the nearest healthcare provider in your area and work on a treatment plan.