What Are The Different Types Of Eating Disorders?

February 20, 2021   •  Posted in: 

Anorexia nervosa

This is a serious disease and it can lead to death through starvation if help is not found in time. It is important to recognize the symptoms of this disease so you can seek help for yourself or a loved one before it is too late.



Bulimia is an illness where a person overeats or binges on food and then feels intense shame. They then purge themselves of this food either through vomiting or abusing laxatives. Bulimia is more common in women than in men and is most common in adolescent girls and young women.

Bulimics are often of normal weight but they see themselves as being very overweight.


Binge eating

Binge eating disorder is usually seen by a person compulsively overeating. You may consume large amounts of food, with seemingly no control over when to stop. Often binge eaters gorge themselves without being fully aware of what they are eating or tasting.

The symptoms of binge eaters thinking about eating seemingly all the time; frequent episodes of overeating or binging; eating in secret; feelings of guilt or shame after eating; and eating beyond feelings of being full or satisfied.


Male eating disorders

Male eating disorders are common than you might think. Millions of men suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or overeating disorders. It is not a disease that only affects women, men need to get help for these diseases as well.

It is important for you to get help, and The Center • A Place of HOPE can help you with this.


How common are eating disorders?

Eating disorders affect up to 30 million men and women in the US. Both men and women can suffer from anorexia, but women are 10 times more likely to become anorexic. Nearly 1 in every 100 American women will experience anorexia at one time in their lives.

Bulimia is more common in women than in men, and generally, it starts in adolescence. About 3% of female adolescents have bulimia in America, with 107% having bulimia some time in their life. For males, the numbers are lower at 0.1 -0.5%.

Binge-eating disorder is more common in women than in men. It is estimated to affect about 3% of the US population, which is around 4 million people.


How do you treat an eating disorder?

At The Center • A Place of HOPE, the care is focused on you as an individual, and treatment is tailored to you. The Center • A Place of HOPE will assess your mental, medical, nutritional, and fitness health to help to give you the best care that you need to begin your journey of healing.

At The Center • A Place of HOPE, they have a team of licensed and experienced, and very caring eating disorder professionals to assist you on your journey every step of the way.

They will also look at any co-existing issues like depression, anxiety or substance abuse. This helps to ensure every area of your life is being looked after to ensure a full recovery.

The Center • A Place of HOPE runs an award-winning eating disorder treatment program.


Can males suffer from eating disorders?

Eating disorders are not just experienced by teenage girls who are too focused on their weight. Eating disorders can affect anyone of any age, including boys and men.

Males can also suffer from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. More than 10 million males in the US suffer from some kind of eating disorder. Males make up 15% of the cases of anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.

Research is showing that there are probably more males with bulimia in the US than females with anorexia. Bulimia seems to be more common in males than anorexia.               

Males with eating disorders often get very sick as it is not common for these boys and men to seek out professional help and care. Males are often only noticed as having a problem in a much later stage of the disease than women usually are, or they are often misdiagnosed and so do not receive the right care when they need it. This is very dangerous.


What causes eating disorders?

The true cause of eating disorders is unknown, there are contributing risk factors that could contribute towards having an eating disorder.

Some of these contributing risk factors are:

  • Irregular hormone balance
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Negative body image
  • Dysfunctional family dynamic
  • Childhood trauma
  • Family trauma
  • Peer or family pressure
  • Stressful life changes

If you would like to read more about the causes of eating disorders, you can read more here.


How to know if you or a loved one have an eating disorder?

Different eating disorders are similar, but they will present slightly differently.

Symptoms of bulimia

Some of the physical signs and symptoms of bulimia are:

  • Repeated episodes of bingeing and purging
  • Living in fear of weight gain
  • Feeling out of control during a binge and eating even when you are feeling full
  • Over-exercising
  • Fasting, or restricting calories between binges
  • Going to the bathroom right after most meals
  • Using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after eating when they are not needed
  • Purging the food that’s been eaten after a binge by vomiting, or using other methods
  • Frequent dieting


Anorexia is a very complex disease, and it isn’t always easy to diagnose in a loved one as those suffering can be quite secretive about their eating habits.

Some of the physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are:

  • Severe loss of muscle mass
  • Refusal to eat
  • Being secretive about what food they are eating
  • Exercising excessively
  • Using laxatives
  • Intense fear over weight gain
  • Intense dissatisfaction with physical appearance, weight, and body shape
  • Personality changing from being outgoing to becoming more withdrawn
  • Low body temperature, with cold hands and feet
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of menstruation

Binge eating

Most people who suffer from binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese. But you may have a normal weight, so this isn’t always a sign of a binge-eating disorder.

Some of the common emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms of binge-eating disorder are:

  • Eating an unusually large amount of food in a small amount of time, like over a couple of hours.
  • Feeling that you are unable to control your eating.
  • Eating even when you are not hungry, or continuing to eat even if you feel full.
  • Eating very quickly during a binge session.
  • Frequently eating alone or secret eating.
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, disgusted, or upset about your eating.
  • Feeling depressed about your eating habits.
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without losing any weight.

Male eating disorders

Generally, the symptoms of eating disorders are the same in males as in females, however, there are some gender differences in terms of age of onset and pre-illness levels of obesity.

Males tend to have a later onset, so often older than puberty or the teenage years. Males also tend to have higher levels of obesity before the onset of an eating disorder.

Males may start out on their eating disorder pathway by starting to exercise or gym excessively. Then as they become hyper-focused on the perfect body, they then start restricting food. Their outward intention may appear that they want to become healthier, rather than losing weight. This can often disguise the eating disorder for longer as they may initially go through a stage of looking more toned, muscular, and fit before it becomes evident that there is a problem.


How to help someone who is suffering from an eating disorder?

Your loved one needs support and understanding, as well as someone to encourage them and love them in this difficult time. It is important you look after your own emotional health as it isn’t always easy supporting someone who has an anxiety disorder.

Again it is so important that your loved one is receiving treatment from a health professional as this will help them immensely on their journey with anxiety.

Dr. Gregory Jantz

Pioneering Whole Person Care over thirty years ago, Dr. Gregory Jantz is an innovator in the treatment of mental health. He is a best-selling author of over 45 books, and a go-to media authority on behavioral health afflictions, appearing on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN. Dr. Jantz leads a team of world-class, licensed, and...

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