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Eating Disorders (An Overview)

Written by Caitlin Wheeler

Eating Disorders…What Are They?

Many people have heard the words “eating disorder” at least once. But how many really know what they mean? There isn’t really one way to define what eating disorders are; there are different ways to describe and explain them. One article defines them as “...psychological disorders in which individuals have disordered eating and are typically obsessed with food, body image, and/or body weight” while another’s definition is “...psychological conditions that involve either overeating, voluntary starvation, obsession about food quality or body image, or a combination of these.” Eating disorders are generally considered to be a group of mental disorders that involve food intake and/or body image. It is unclear as to exactly what causes eating disorders, but scientists believe a variety of factors are involved, like environment, societal pressures, and trauma or other mental disorders like depression.

What Eating Disorders Are There?

There are many eating disorders, and many combinations and subtypes of these disorders. Some common ones include:

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Bulimia nervosa

  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

  • Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

  • Rumination Disorder

  • Orthorexia nervosa

All of these disorders are complex and hard to briefly explain. Future blog posts will be written about each disorder specifically, so if you’re intrigued look out for those!

The Author’s Perspective

I’ve had my own experiences with anorexia nervosa and the biggest thing I can stress to anyone reading this is DO NOT EVER DEVELOP AN EATING DISORDER IF YOU CAN HELP IT. You can’t “try it out” and decide if you like it. Eating disorders are not free trials; once you’ve developed one, it’s often very hard to recover from. Not at all impossible – many people recover from eating disorders and live happy lives – but trust me and the millions of