Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are commonly misconstrued as a lifestyle choice. However, an eating disorder is a serious, potentially fatal condition that affects a patient’s health, emotions, and function.

Patients suffering from an eating disorder focus excessively on their weight, the shape of their body, and food consumption. The condition often leads to dangerous behaviors around eating and food.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, know that it can be a severe condition that may require support and professional care to overcome. The expert team at Cyti Psychological provides the care needed to recover from the debilitating pain of an eating disorder. So, schedule now to receive the critical help you need.

Types of Eating Disorders

The primary eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

Anorexia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa
Binge-Eating Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa, often called anorexia, can cause people to experience distorted thinking. They often see themselves as overweight, even when they’re drastically underweight. People who suffer from anorexia may severely restrict their calorie intake by eating minimal quantities of food.

In addition to the symptoms and visible side effects of anorexia, the condition can also cause long-term medical concerns.

Anorexia is a hazardous eating disorder, as young men and women can die from complications associated with self-starvation. The suicide rate of those with anorexia is higher than it is with most other mental illnesses.

Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
Extreme thinness • Highly restricted eating • Lethargy  • Obsessive exercise or calorie-counting • Unwillingness  to maintain a healthy weight • Fear of gaining weight • Distorted body image • Growth of fine hair all over the body • Brittle hair and nails • Dry skin • Yellowing of the complexion

Medical side effects of anorexia nervosa include:
Osteopenia or osteoporosis • Anemia • Muscle weakness • Constipation • Low blood pressure • Slowed breathing and pulse • Brain damage • Organ failure • Infertility

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa, often called bulimia, is another condition that can be severe and life threatening. People with bulimia have episodes of eating vast amounts of food, during which they feel a loss of control over their ability to stop eating or binge eating.

After binge-eating episodes, people may compensate for their overeating with behaviors like forced vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or engaging in excessive exercising. Unlike with anorexia, identifying someone’s bulimia may be more difficult since people who experience this disorder often maintain a healthy or average weight.

Like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa may cause further health complications, including a gastric rupture during binging episodes.

Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:
Preoccupation with body weight and shape • Sores, scars, or calluses on the knuckles or hands • Swelling in the hands and feet • Inflamed and sore throat • Swollen glands in the neck and jaw • Worn tooth enamel and sensitive or decaying teeth • Dehydration

Other medical complications of bulimia include:
Electrolyte imbalance, which can cause heart failure and death • Rupture of the esophagus • Chronic bowel problems • Pancreatitis and peptic ulcers

Binge-Eating Disorder

People experiencing a binge-eating disorder may regularly eat excessive food and feel like they lack control over their eating. As a result, they may eat quickly, even when they’re not hungry, and continue to eat after feeling uncomfortably full.

Unlike bulimia, the binge-eating disorder does not include compensation for the behavior with extreme methods to burn or reduce calories when not binging. People with binge-eating disorder binge at least once a week and can be of average weight, overweight, or obese.

Binge eating disorder may be worsened by dieting in unhealthy ways, including skipping meals or avoiding certain foods altogether.

Symptoms of binge-eating disorder include: Eating excessive amounts of food in under two hours Eating when not hungry or full • Eating fast • Eating alone or in secret • Frequently dieting, often without weight loss

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

ARFID is different from other eating disorders in that it isn’t connected with the fear of gaining weight. Instead, people suffering from ARFID regularly don’t meet their daily nutrition requirements due to a lack of interest in eating.

A person may also experience ARFID due to avoiding food with specific characteristics, such as certain textures, smells, or colors. ARFID may also stem from concerns

ARFID may cause significant weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, or a failure to gain weight appropriately. In addition, if left untreated, ARFID may build in intensity or seriousness and can become particularly concerning when it affects children and teenagers.

No matter what you’re going through, You’re Not Alone.

Eating Disorders FAQ’s

An eating disorder is a complicated mental health condition that requires medical and psychological treatment. It often starts with an obsession with body weight, body shape, or food. Common symptoms include food binges, extreme food restriction, and purging behaviors, such as overexercising or vomiting. Here are some commonly asked questions.

There are several different kinds of eating disorders. While each has its own symptoms, they all focus on issues related to weight, food, and eating. Explore the symptoms here. Here are some of the most common signs of an eating disorder:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Avoiding eating in public
  • Worrying about food, weight, calories, or dieting
  • Excuses to avoid mealtimes
  • Refusing to eat certain foods
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Consistently feeling cold
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep irregularities

There are many different signs to look for if you think someone has an eating disorder. They may constantly discuss food, weight, and calories or remove entire food groups from their home. Overexercising and extreme or rapid weight loss can also be symptoms of an eating disorder.

Difficulties communicating, focusing, or socializing can also be signs that someone is undernourishing their brain. Avoiding social situations, disappearing from a group before or after eating, and the inability to eat with other people are all signs someone has a negative relationship with food.

Someone doesn’t have to massively gain or lose weight for them to have an eating disorder. While weight changes are often evident, it’s the actions of the person that defines whether or not they have an eating disorder.

Disordered eating patterns aren’t the same thing as eating disorders. Disordered eating patterns are abnormal eating habits that don’t meet the criteria of an eating disorder.

The major difference between the two is the degree and severity of symptoms. People with disordered eating patterns often display the same behaviors as people with eating disorders, but the symptoms occur less intensely and severely.

Disordered eating patterns restrict food intake, limit food choices, cause physical discomfort, create a sense of being in control, and can result in negative feelings, such as guilt and shame. When left unaddressed, disordered eating patterns can progress into a clinical eating disorder.

Three of the most serious eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa is when people think they’re overweight, even if they’re actually dangerously underweight. They seriously restrict their calories and the food they consume. Over time, anorexia nervosa can result in thinning bones, infertility, multiple organ failure, and death.

Bulimia nervosa occurs when people eat large amounts of food they would normally avoid in short periods of time. They then vomit, use laxatives, use diuretics, fast, or excessively exercise to combat the calories. Bulimia nervosa can cause an imbalance of electrolytes, resulting in a stroke or heart attack.

Binge eating disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa but without the purge. People with this condition consume unusually large amounts of non-nutritious food in short periods and feel completely out of control. This can increase their chances of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

The parts of the brain that deal with reward, pleasure, and memory are in part responsible for food cravings. An imbalance of hormones, like serotonin or leptin, may also cause you to crave food.

People who menstruate often experience food cravings in different parts of their menstrual cycle, due to hormonal fluctuations. Food cravings are also incredibly common during pregnancy, as a result of major hormonal changes.

It’s not just hormones that can cause you to crave food. Emotions can contribute to cravings, too. If you’re feeling sad, you may crave comfort food to make you feel better. If your body is lacking nutrients, it may make you crave the type of food it requires to stay healthy.

Cyti Psychological offers comprehensive treatment options

Eating disorders are severe conditions with long-term medical ramifications. Cyti Psychological offers clients fast access to the care they need from licensed professionals who specialize in treating their mental health concerns. In addition, Cyti Psychological offers 24/7 care specialists who are prepared to connect those in need with the right therapist anytime.

Through various modalities and solution-oriented therapy, clients can consistently find the support they need. If you or someone you love suffers from an eating disorder, don’t delay. Take the first step in your journey to recovery, and reach out to add time with Cyti Psychological to your schedule now.


Kari Peel
Ashley Laube
Clint Edwards
Mariam Pandes
Patricia Kovars