Eating Disorders Home > Types of Eating Disorders

There are three primary and two secondary kinds of eating disorders. The eating disorders that most people are familiar with are anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. The other eating disorder types are EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) and disordered eating.

An Introduction to the Types of Eating Disorders

There are three main eating disorder types: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Another type is called eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).
While not a formal type of eating disorder, disordered eating is far more common and widespread than most defined eating disorders, and it can possibly lead to the development of a more serious condition.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a dangerous condition in which people can literally starve themselves to death. People with this type of eating disorder eat very little, even though they are already thin. They have an intense and overpowering fear of body fat and weight gain, repeated dieting attempts, and excessive weight loss.
This particular eating disorder affects from 0.5 percent to 1 percent of the female adolescent population, with an average age of onset between 14 and 18 years.
Anorexia is identified, in part, by a refusal to eat, an intense desire to be thin, repeated dieting attempts, and excessive weight loss. To maintain an abnormally low weight, people with anorexia may diet, fast, or over-exercise. They often engage in behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. People with anorexia believe that they are overweight even when they are extremely thin. Often, the illness will occur after a stressful life event, such as the beginning of puberty or moving out of the parents' home.
People with anorexia are often characterized as perfectionists and overachievers who appear to be in control. In reality, they suffer from low self-esteem and overly criticize themselves. They are also very concerned about pleasing others.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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