Anorexia nervosa is marked by low body weight and restrictive eating habits. Individuals with AN often report a fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. Many people with AN describe feeling isolated from other people and some will also engage in binge eating and/or purging. There are often medical complications from the dietary restriction that individuals with AN practice. AN can affect individuals of all ages, races/ethnicities, and both males and females.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a recurrent pattern of binge eating (eating a large amount of food while feeling a loss of control) followed by a behavior intended to compensate for the extra food, such as self-induced vomiting, driven exercise, or the use of laxatives/diuretics.
Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating (eating a large amount of food accompanied by a feeling of loss of control) and a feeling of shame or self-disgust as a result of the binge eating.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is characterized by a difficulty eating that results in significant nutritional problems, low weight, or a failure to gain weight in children. These difficulties can be due to the person’s sensitivity to certain types or textures of foods, a fear choking or vomiting, or a general lack of interest in food. Unlike with other eating disorders, people with ARFID are less likely to have body image concerns related to wanting to weigh less or look thinner.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) includes many different forms of disordered eating. Examples include: having all of the signs of anorexia nervosa but not being underweight (atypical anorexia nervosa); having all of the symptoms of bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder but experiencing binge eating or purging at a low frequency (atypical BN or BED); purging by self-induced vomiting or other means without regular binge eating (purging disorder); regularly waking up to binge eat in the middle of the night (night eating syndrome); obsessions with eating “clean” or “pure” foods (orthorexia); and chewing food and spitting it out without ingesting it on a regular basis to avoid gaining weight.