Types of Eating Disorders

Types of Eating Disorders

Types of eating disorders

All eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses classified by the DSM-V. 

If you or someone you know have any of the following, please do seek help. 

Anorexia nervosa

Is a condition characterised by individuals with a low body weight restricting their food and drink intake. It is common for individuals with anorexia to create rules around restricting food and drink alongside a distorted image of their body. Individuals with anorexia commonly believe that they are larger than they actually are and this is often paired with a fear of gaining weight.


Is a condition whereby individuals binge (by eating lots of food) and then compensate by forcing themselves to vomit, excessively exercise, fast, or sometimes even take diuretics or laxatives (purging).  Binge eating is often a result of many difficult emotions. As with anorexia, individuals with bulimia often focus on their body’s shape and size and may see themselves as being much larger than they actually are.

Binge eating disorder

Is similar to bulimia however, binge eating episodes are not followed by purging. Binge eating often feels uncontrollable for someone suffering with BED. A binge-eating episode can include eating an uncomfortable large amount of food often when the individual is not hungry, followed by feelings of guilt and shame after the binge. Binge eating may be planned in advance when individuals buy specific foods to later binge on in private when they experience difficult or overwhelming feelings. 


Other specified feeding or eating disorder is different to anorexia, binge eating or bulimia as the individual may not present all characteristics associated with those eating disorders. Some examples of specific OSFEDs include atypical anorexia, bulimia of low frequency or duration, purging disorder and night eating syndrome. As with all eating disorders, OSFED is not about the way a person views food but more so a reflection of underlying thoughts and feelings and a way to impose control. Physical signs are harder to catch in individuals with OSFED so it is important to recognise associated behaviours as early as possible.


Please see the post below J

ARFID Quiz ⁣

ARFID Quiz ⁣

ARFID stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

It is categorised as an eating disorder, but is different from the eating disorders you may already be aware of, as there is no body dysmorphia and no desire to control weight.

As it was only added to the DSM (the manual of diagnosis for mental health) in 2013, there are likely many adults who have not been diagnosed as yet.

It is much more extreme than just “picky eating”, although that is often what will bring people to the attention of healthcare professionals. it goes far beyond picky eating, and interferes with daily functioning, quality of life and health.

What is ARFID?

ARFID, or Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, is a lesser-known eating disorder that can have a significant impact on a persons physical and emotional well-being. Unlike other eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, ARFID is characterised by an extreme avoidance or restriction of food intake, often due to sensory sensitivities, fear of adverse consequences (such as being sick, or choking), or a lack of interest in eating and food.

Individuals with ARFID may have a very limited range of foods that they are willing to eat, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, weight loss, and other health complications.

One of the key features of ARFID is the severe anxiety or aversion towards certain foods or food groups. This can manifest as a fear of choking, vomiting, or experiencing negative physical reactions after eating, even if these experiences have not actually occurred in the past. As a result, individuals with ARFID may go to great lengths to avoid specific foods, leading to a restricted and unbalanced diet.

  • Eating less than 20 different foods⁣
  • Lack of appetite and would rather not eat ⁣
  • Takes a long time over eating meals⁣
  • Only eating certain textures of food⁣
  • Anxious before and during mealtimes (not afterwards)⁣
  • Sudden refusal to eat foods⁣
  • Extreme fear of new foods ⁣
  • Gagging/vomiting at the sight of food⁣
  • Avoidance of eating socially ⁣
  • Expresses fear of eating…fear of choking or vomiting or worries that the food may make them ill⁣
  • Will only eat certain foods, or certain brands of food⁣
  • Foods are refused due to texture/feel/smell ⁣

Do I have ARFID?

Have a look through these questions…

  1. Do you struggle with a lack of interest in food?
  2. Do you avoiding eating foods as much as possible?
  3. Do you avoid some foods based on their texture or consistency?
  4. Have you had weight loss, but you are not trying to lose weight or concerned about the size and shape of your body?
  5. Have you been told you are a “picky eater”?
  6. Do you refuse to try new or different foods?
  7. Do you like to have your foods prepared and served in a specific way?
  8. Do you fear choking on foods?
  9. Do you fear vomiting after eating?

Whilst answering “yes” to these questions is not a diagnosis of ARFID, if you can see that this is a reflection of you, and it is affecting your life (even if you have got used to being this way, it can still greatly affect quality of life, and also nutritional status), it would be sensible to discuss this further with your GP.

Who does ARFID affect?

It can affect a person at any age; babies, toddlers, children or adults. It can be diagnosed in children from the age of 2. ⁣

How is it treated?

ARFID can be particularly challenging to diagnose and treat due to its complex nature and varied underlying causes.

It is important for people struggling with ARFID to seek professional help from healthcare providers, including dietitains and therapists, who can provide specialised support and guidance.

Treatment for ARFID typically involves a multidisciplinary approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the disorder. This may include cognitive-behavioral therapy to help individuals challenge and change their thoughts and behaviors around food, exposure therapy to gradually reintroduce avoided foods in a safe and supportive environment, and dietetics therapy to ensure that your dietary needs are met.

How can I find out more?

If you have any of these presentations yourself, or you are worried about someone you know, talk to your GP in the first instance.

By raising awareness and understanding of ARFID, we can help break the stigma surrounding this eating disorder and provide support to those who are struggling. It is essential to approach individuals with ARFID with empathy and compassion, recognizing that their difficulties with food are not a choice but a consequence of a complex and challenging disorder.

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