5 Types of Eating Disorders

common eating disorders

Common Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Purging Disorder
  • Night Eating Syndrome
  • Pica

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages and both sexes. Though some think eating disorders only affect young women, they can impact young men and older people as well. These disorders limit the control that individuals have over their eating and prevent them from living their lives in a healthy way. Those concerned about the eating habits of their loved ones or their own eating habits can learn more about some of these disorders.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is one of the more common disorders doctors diagnose today. One of the more common symptoms of this disorder is a low or unhealthy body weight. Those diagnosed will weigh less than they should based on their height and age. Patients often go to extreme lengths to lose weight such as working out long hours while restricting the amount of calories they eat. Many also have a hard time seeing the effects that the disorder has on their lives. They believe that they are fat, despite being underweight.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is another medical condition that relates to anorexia nervosa. These men and women relate their self-esteem to how much they weigh and may feel worthless because they do not weigh as little as they think they should. Bulimics are prone to something called binge eating, which is when they eat a significant amount of food or a large number of calories in one sitting. They may purge to eliminate that food and use methods like exercise, vomiting or taking laxatives to get the food out quickly.

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Purging Disorder

Not all patients who purge may suffer from bulimia though, which is why doctors identified something called purging disorder. This is a type of disorder characterized by frequent purging. Patients may take laxatives to use the bathroom more often, vomit after eating or use enemas to lose more weight. According to Medical News Today, this disorder is more common among those who suffer from anxiety or depression. Patients may suffer from symptoms like cheeks that appear sunken or drawn and wear on the enamel on the backs of their teeth.

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Night Eating Syndrome

One of the more unique disorders that falls under this category is one called night eating syndrome. This disorder causes people to eat less during the day and to eat more at night. Patients are generally obese or overweight and feel like they cannot control the amount of calories they eat. They may follow a sensible diet during the day and then feel overwhelmed at night, which causes them to consume more calories before going to bed. Some patients even get out of bed in the middle of the night to eat in private.


Pica is both an eating and a mental disorder. Those diagnosed with the condition eat things that they should not and may eat things that are inedible. Pica patients can eat their own hair, dirt and other things found in nature. A small number of patients will eat other items made from metal or plastic like bags or even razor blades. Medical intervention may be required to remove those items from the patient’s stomach. Some of these patients enjoy eating one specific type of item or material because they like the texture and the way it feels in their mouths.


Not all of these conditions affect patients at the same rate, and each condition has different symptoms that patients may experience. Anyone who exhibits any unusual symptoms should speak to a doctor about the dangers of any of these eating disorders.

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