Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. They are characterized by severe disturbances in eating habits, thoughts, and emotions related to food, weight, and body image. Anorexia nervosa is one of the most well-known eating disorders, but did you know that there are different types of anorexia? While they all share the same underlying characteristics, each type has its unique features and treatment considerations.
Honey Lake Clinic’s adolescent treatment program in Florida can support individuals struggling with any type of anorexia, but understanding the differences between them is crucial for an effective treatment approach.
Call 888.428.0562 if you or your loved one is struggling with anorexia to learn more about our specialized treatment options.
What Are the Different Types of Anorexia?
Eating disorders are mental health concerns with seriously damaging physical and emotional consequences. They are not fads, phases, or something that someone consciously chooses to take part in.
Anorexia generally develops during adolescence or young adulthood and tends to affect more women than men. People who struggle with anorexia have a distorted body image and intense fears of gaining weight, leading them to severely restrict their food intake. This can result in significant weight loss and malnutrition.
But did you know that there are different types of anorexia? The two main types include:
Restrictive Anorexia Nervosa
If you have this type of anorexia, you place severe restrictions on the quantity and types of food you consume. This may include counting calories, skipping meals, restricting certain types of foods (carbohydrates, for instance), or following obsessive rules.
Individuals with the restricting type of anorexia typically lose weight through their restrictive eating habits, though many combine diet and fasting with extreme exercise to offset any potential weight gain.
Binge Eating/Purging Anorexia Nervosa
If you have this type of anorexia, you’ve entered into a pattern of eating followed by an activity to purge the food you’ve consumed. Purging may include forced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.
These behaviors, either in restricting or in binge eating and purging, are unhealthy physically and mentally and can even be life-threatening. It’s important to seek therapy and nutritional education for the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
Causes of Anorexia
While a singular cause for anorexia has not been identified, research suggests genetics and environment can play a role—genetic predisposition, personality traits, and environmental factors have all been identified as potential contributing factors.
Examples of environmental factors that contribute to the occurrence of this eating disorder include:
- The effects of the thinness culture in media, which constantly reinforces thin people as ideal stereotypes
- Professions and careers that promote being thin and weight loss, such as ballet and modeling
- Family and childhood traumas: childhood sexual abuse, severe trauma
- Peer pressure among friends and co-workers to be thin or sexy
When individuals struggling with anorexia participate in their treatment program, they will receive therapy to help uncover the underlying reasons they may have developed this disorder.
How Treatment for Anorexia Can Help
Anorexia is a serious mental health concern. Your best path to recovery from anorexia will involve a team of qualified and experienced caregiving specialists—a physician, a nutritionist, and a therapist are recommended. Effective treatment will include these three components:
- Medical care – The highest priority in the treatment of anorexia nervosa is addressing any serious health issues that may have resulted from disordered behaviors, such as malnutrition, electrolyte imbalance, amenorrhea, and an unstable heartbeat.
- Nutritional support – This component encompasses weight restoration, implementation and supervision of a tailored meal plan, and education about normal eating patterns.
- Therapy – The goal of this part of treatment is to recognize underlying issues associated with the eating disorder, address and heal from traumatic life events, learn healthier coping skills, and further develop the capacity to express and deal with emotions.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists understand that effective treatment for eating disorders requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach involving the healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres, offering each patient their greatest chance at wholeness and transformative growth.
Call Honey Lake Clinic Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with anorexia, you are not alone. Let Honey Lake Clinic help you regain control of your life and discover lasting transformation. Renewal can start today with a simple phone call.