All eating disorders have emotional issues and situations as their backbone, and need to be addressed as more than just behavioral problems. A person with an eating disorder cannot be guilted or bribed into giving up behaviors. The disease must be treated as the mental illness it is, with an understanding that it takes time to recover (usually years), and the person will experience both triumphs and setbacks along the way. Remember, an eating disorder is not a diet that's out of control or something that will go away on its own. It is a very deadly condition, and the sooner a person enters recovery, the better. See the Getting Help section for more information.
BINGE EATING DISORDER
EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified)
This is a commonly diagnosed eating disorder, and is just as serious and potentially deadly as any other eating disorder. It is often the diagnosis for an individual that does not fit fully into the category of another eating disorder, usually anorexia or bulimia. A person with EDNOS may:
While regular exercise done in moderate amounts can be great for a person, compulsive exercising is something extreme that is often used in conjunction with an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. A person who compulsively exercises may do some or all of the following:
NOCTURAL SLEEP-RELATED DISORDER
Also known as Sleep Eating Disorder, it consists of eating while sleep-walking. The person usually does not remember that they have gotten out of bed, often cooked, and then consumed food, all while still technically asleep. Evidence comes later when they wake up and find empty food containers and wrappers, dirty dishes and other clues that indicate what happened while they were asleep. Sometimes the person will consume raw or frozen food, or will cook in an abnormal fashion, such as heating bacon on a coffee pot base, leading to a risk of consuming food that may be contaminated. They may also consume non-food substances, such as glue or wood. The amount of food eaten is usually a larger amount than a person would normally eat while fully awake.
This is an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods the person believes to be unhealthy. It often begins with an earnest attempt to eat healthier, with a focus on foods that are low in fat or calorie content, and sometimes avoiding entire food groups, such as sugar, wheat or dairy. It then spirals down to an obsession with an ever decreasing list of foods that feel 'safe' to the individual, and can result in extreme weight loss, malnutrition, other physical health risks, and social isolation due to the limited number of things the person will eat. A person often experiences a feeling of 'purity' and control when following their new dietary plan; conversely they feel guilty and bad when they deviate from it.
This is a rare, genetic disorder that causes the person to have an insatiable appetite. A defect in the part of the brain that regulates hunger causes the person to constantly feel hungry, and take extraordinary steps in order to attempt to satiate it. These steps can include stealing food, eating spoiled food, and eating inappropriate things, such as pet food. Often victims of this disorder end up dealing with obesity due to the constant high calorie intake of food.
BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER
This is a condition that sometimes accompanies an eating disorder. It is not just having a bad body image, which usually goes along with an eating disorder, but rather a diagnosed condition in addition to the disorder. A person with this condition obsesses over their appearance, often focused on one particular part of their body. They believe there to be a flaw, often something small, and it may be real or imagined. The obsession over this often results in depression and an inability to enjoy life. The person may engage in multiple attempts at cosmetic procedures or other extreme actions in order to feel better, although nothing they do results in a quieting of the constant nagging thoughts, shame and dissatisfaction they feel.
MUSCLE DYSMORPHIA (aka Bigorexia)
This falls under the heading of a body image condition, rather than strictly an eating disorder, but can exist along with an eating disorder. It is a condition in which the person becomes obsessed with the thought of developing and maintaining muscles, particularly of the typical bodybuilder type, while maintaining a lean stature. Even after pronounced development of muscles, the sufferer usually is not able to fully see this or be satisfied with the results, and continues to attempt to increase their muscular structure and size. It is most commonly found in males, but females can have it, too, with a high population among body builders, wrestlers and other athletes.