Eating Disorders: More than just a strict diet

Posted: March 9, 2012 by jerkmag in CRISP -- health, VAULT -- archives

We’ve all heard of anorexia and bulimia – the two eating disorders most common among men and women. But did you know that there are many other different types of disordered eating?

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week took place from February 26 through March 3, (I know, I know; I missed it. Sorry!) It’s a week entirely devoted to educating the public that eating disorders are about so much more than just limited food intake and unhealthy purging habits. And so, in honor of this much-needed awareness week, I’ve compiled a list of a few of the lesser-known eating disorders – not to scare you guys, but to make you more aware that anorexia and bulimia are only two instances of disordered eating.

Night Eating Syndrome: Characterized by eating very little during the day and then raiding the fridge at night, NES sufferers often skip breakfast and don’t begin eating until noon. As a result of heavy eating later in the day, those who suffer from NES usually have difficulty sleeping

Orthorexia Nervosa: Though it is not seen as an actual, diagnosable condition yet, Orthorexia Nervosa has been studied and has been associated with other extreme dietary patterns. The condition is characterized by the need to follow a “perfect” and “pure” diet (think, organic food), and those who suffer from it fixate not on the quantity of food, but on the quality.

Bigorexia: Also known as “reverse anorexia,” Bigorexia is often found in bodybuilders and it characterized by the worry of being too small. In addition to improper diet and exercise techniques, Bigorexia sufferers are more at risk for steroid and bodybuilding drug use.

Compulsive Exercise: Forget the phrase, “there’s no such thing as too much exercise,” because there most certainly is. Compulsive Exercise is just another form of purging behaviors, and many sufferers see the main goal of exercise not as becoming healthier or stronger, but torching calories in order to give them permission to eat.

Pica: Though it’s not focused on body image as much as the aforementioned eating disorders, Pica (the act of eating inedible items) is still a form of disordered eating. Pica is often found in low-income families, and sufferers are often found to have mineral deficits, developmental delays or mental deficiencies.

—Amber Brenza

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