What Eating Disorders Are and the Best Treatment Options

Eating disorders refer to behavioral conditions characterized by persistent and severe disturbance in eating behaviors that are normally related to distressing emotions and thoughts.

They are also serious conditions affecting social, psychological, and physical function. Those eating behaviors may become driven in various ways, which appear the same as addiction.

Risk Factors

Young women and teenage girls are more likely to get an eating disorder compared to young men and teenage boys.

While eating disorders might happen across a wide age range, they usually develop in teenagers and individuals in their early 20s. The most common risks of getting eating disorders include:

  • Stress
  • Starvation and dieting
  • Mental health conditions
  • Family history

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

While symptoms of various eating disorders differ a lot, some may show a good reason to investigate even further.

What’s more, in case your behaviors and thoughts surrounding body image, weight, and food are impacting everyday functioning and causing distress, it can be time to get help. Some of the symptoms you can look at are the presence of binge eating, dietary restriction, negative body image, and presence of diuretic use.


According to experts, there are several types of eating disorders that a doctor can diagnose you with. Each has a specific criterion differentiating them from other eating disorders and mental illnesses.

Recognizing the unique difference in eating disorders might come in handy in improving recovery and treatment outcomes.

One common type of the disorder is Anorexia Nervosa. An individual diagnosed with this type of disorder should engage in persistent energy intake restriction. Other than Anorexia Nervosa, other eating disorders you can be diagnosed with include:

  • BED (Binge Eating Disorder)
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)
  • Rumination disorder
  • Pica

Diagnosis of Eating Disorders

Healthcare experts, like mental health professionals and physicians, can diagnose different eating disorders. Your healthcare provider can review the symptoms, carry out a physical exam, and conduct a blood test.

Mental health counselors, like psychiatrists or psychologists, carry out psychological evaluations to determine more about eating beliefs and behaviors.

Providers usually use the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic to diagnose eating disorders.

These associations outline symptoms of all types of eating disorders. It is not a must you have all the symptoms so as to get an eating disorder diagnosis. Plus, even when you don’t have specifically listed eating orders, you might still require help to overcome food-related problems.

Treatment Options

Eating disorders may effectively get treated. The earlier you detect the disorder, the easier it will be to treat them.

Recovery might take several months or years. However, most individuals recover from them. Once you are diagnosed, treatment becomes a disciplinary approach.

There is a no-one-size-fits-all approach to treating these disorders because everyone is created differently. But the most common treatment options you are likely to get are:

  • Nutrition education
  • Counseling
  • Person-centered stepped care
  • Medication
  • Family approach

Concluding Remarks!

Eating disorders are technically mental health problems that need treatment right away. If not treated, they can be damaging to your body. So if you have been diagnosed with any eating disorder, ensure you get help from healthcare practitioners to tell you the way forward.

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