It is estimated that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will have an Eating Disorder at some point in their lives. Eating Disorders are serious but treatable mental health conditions that may affect anyone of any age, sex, gender, ethnicity, race or socioeconomic group.
So what are the different types of Eating Disorders and what are the different types of treatment available? According to the DSM-5:
Anorexia Nervosa is defined as:
Bulimia Nervosa is defined as:
misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
3. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for
4. Self- evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
5. The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa,
Binge Eating Disorder is defined as:
4. Absence of regular compensatory behaviors (such as purging).
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is defined as:
3. The eating disturbance is not attributable to a concurrent medical condition or not better explained by another mental disorder.
While there are some people whose symptoms may fit neatly into one of these diagnostic criteria, there are others that may experience symptomatology encompassing multiple disorders or may not represent a full syndrome eating disorder. These people may fall into the diagnostic criteria known as Other Specialized Feeding or Eating Disorder and consequences of the disorder are no less serious than Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder of ARFID.
Regardless of the diagnosis, early and appropriate intervention is necessary and is associated with the best outcomes. Eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder. The high mortality rate may be due to either medical complications or suicide. Well coordinated care is essential for people with eating disorders as eating disorders are very complicated medically as well as psychologically and need to be monitored by professionals who understand and are well versed in how to manage the potential risks. There are various treatment levels or settings of care that are available to conduct treatment. The level of care may be largely based on the patient's medical stability or past history of treatment. Levels of care may include ( from least restrictive to most intensive):
Regardless of the treatment level, multiple professionals are typically involved in patient care with each having a distinct role on the team. Adolescent Medicine physicians (Board-certified medical doctors who specialize in teens and young adults) have obtained special training in medical management of patients with eating disorders. Other vital members of the treatment team include therapists and nutritionists with expertise in eating disorders. It is imperative that all members of the treatment team maintain open communication and collaborate so that patients can be supported adequately in the recovery process.
Eating Disorders are complex both medically and psychologically. During this week of awareness and every day, let's support those who are struggling by letting them know that help is available . You are not alone. Reach out for help. Recovery is possible!