Types of Eating Disorders a Professional Will Need To Treat

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Eating disorders are complex and often debilitating mental illnesses. Just as there are a variety of eating disorders, a wide range of professionals have expertise in treating these conditions. Here are the types of professionals that may need to be involved in the treatment of eating disorders.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent binging on a very restricted and excessive amount of food. The symptoms of BED are very similar to those of anorexia nervosa, with just as many similarities. The difference between BED and anorexia is that in the former, the mood swings are more dramatic and prominent than in anorexia. This is a disorder that can be very difficult to treat on your own. It can require therapy to reverse behaviors and get to the root cause of the disorder. Seek help from a professional if you or a loved one are struggling with binge eating. 

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is characterized by recurrent binging with deliberate purging (such as self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives), leading to weight gain. The sufferer will often become depressed and ashamed of their eating habits. The symptoms of BED and bulimia are very similar in nature, with just as many similarities. It can lead to health complications, so it’s important to get help from a professional to treat it. 

Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia is characterized by the refusal to maintain a healthy body weight. It is usually accompanied by excessive exercise, which could lead to death. This disorder will often result in complete weight loss and could be fatal if not treated properly. Anorexia can also be accompanied by major depression or general mood disorders or caused by family-related reasons such as the death of a close relative. Anorexia can also result from having low self-esteem or an inability to express emotions.

Anorexia and BED are very similar in nature, with just as many similarities. However, one big difference between the two is the amount of food eaten. For example, anorexics will avoid binge eating. It goes against their beliefs about eating, whereas BED sufferers will binge eat because it brings on a sense of pleasure (the pleasure being the consumption of food).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

This type of eating disorder is characterized by unrealistic perceptions of one’s body, which leads to compulsive behaviors to disguise or minimize flaws in the body. This occurs in conjunction with other mental disorders, such as depression or schizophrenia.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This type of eating disorder is characterized by chronic anxiety, both physical and psychological. Often associated with a lack of sleep, it leads to overeating to compensate for the lack of energy and composure. It is often accompanied by an obsessive-compulsive disorder or panic attacks.

A complete eating disorder treatment plan must consider the myriad needs of that individual. Every person experiencing an eating disorder will have their own treatment needs. The treatment options for eating disorders are available and viable. The benefits of eating disorders treatment can be tremendous if they are used appropriately.

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