Eating Disorders- More Than Anorexia and Bulimia

Eating Disorders are painful. Not only for the individual with the disorder, but also for those that love and care about the ones involved.

It usually takes time to develop an eating disorder, where it gradually happens over time. It’s not a choice. No one wakes up one morning and thinks they are going to start an eating disorder. It’s not a diet. It’s a mental health issue, which are always touchy subjects.

According to ANAD, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, there are at least 30 million individuals in the US suffering from eating disorders between all ages and genders. The ANAD goes on to mention 1 person dies every hour and 2 minutes from an eating disorder. It’s the largest leading cause of death from mental illness. It’s scary to think that it’s the leading cause of mental illness deaths in a country that has a love for food.

Eating disorders like any other mental illness is not a one size fits all. The two most recognized forms of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. But those aren’t the only kinds of eating disorders. There are more and they have no prejudice on those that are affected.

There are more than the disorders that will be mentioned, but here are the 5 with the most research. Which is scary to think an eating disorder is “new” or “emerging” and still being researched on people suffering.

1 – Anorexia

This is one of the most well -known eating disorders. It is characterized as simply not eating enough food. To some it may sound crazy, but having suffered anorexia, it’s not crazy; it’s just sometimes what the disorder leads to.

So, why do some people not eat enough food? It could be for a number of reasons. And it’s important to understand that each reason has a personal story behind it. It’s not “just because” or for “fun”.  Some of the “researched” or shared reasons are fear of gaining weight and self-esteem over body image.

There are also subtypes to anorexia, which are the binge-eating/purging type and restricting type. Binge-eating and purging anorexia are in regards to binging and then getting rid of it in the last few months. Restricting anorexia is what you allow yourself to intake and does not include binging or purging.

2 – Bulimia

Bulimia is one of the first eating disorders that comes to mind on the subject. It is characterized by excessive eating or indulgence followed by forced vomiting to remove the food.  The act of self-inducing vomiting is to control that uncontrollable period of binge or excessive eating. It’s for control.

As with anorexia, many that suffer from bulimia do so out of fear of weight gain or because of their self-esteem over their body image.

3 – Binge Eating

Binge eating is another eating disorder and shares some characteristics as bulimia, but without the vomiting by choice. It’s excessive consumption of food. The act of binge eating makes the individual suffering from the disorder feel unable to control the intake of food, which leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment.

Some indications of a binge eating disorder that is not normal or out of control are eating by oneself from shame or embarrassment about the actions, eating until one is uncomfortable or extremely full, or eating from boredom, such as when not hungry.

4 – Avoidant/ Restrictive Disorder

This disorder is similar to that “picky eating” phase for children. Accept you don’t grow out of it. As the name explains it’s avoiding certain foods or types of foods and restricting diet to or from a food group. But it’s not just like, not liking vegetables or fruits or other foods. Its avoidance and restricting so much that you become under nourished.

Avoidant or Restrictive intake eating disorders are more common in guys than females.

5 – Diabulimia

This type of eating disorder affects individuals with a specific medical condition, Type 1 Diabetes. It’s not necessarily controlled by eating or food, but instead by insulin, which is a necessary. Individuals suffering from this form of eating disorder don’t get themselves the necessary dosage of insulin, usually under dosing, to help control weight.


Eating disorders are a form of control. Control of what we eat or don’t eat or the risks individuals take to control our size/ weight. Self-esteem judged by numbers on a scale or size on clothing labels.

But the biggest takeaway you should have is knowing that an eating disorder is not a choice. It’s a mental illness. No one decides one day that they want to start an eating disorder “diet.”

Camille is one of the content writers and Mental Health & Lifestyle Editor for Tribe Twenty One. She is a freelance writer and has her Bachelor’s in Marketing and Master’s in Organizational Communications from Southeastern Louisiana University.

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