What are the Different Types of Anorexia?
Eating disorders are mental disorders with seriously damaging physical and emotional consequences. They are not fads, phases or something that someone consciously chooses to take part in.
If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, seek help from a healthcare practitioner that specializes in eating disorders. Don’t know where to turn? We can help.
Anorexia nervosa is likely the most well-known eating disorder. It generally develops during adolescence or young adulthood and tends to affect more women than men. Anorexia Nervosa sufferers generally view themselves as overweight, even if they’re dangerously underweight. They tend to constantly monitor their weight, avoid eating certain types of foods and severely restrict their calories.
Common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
- Being considerably underweight compared to people of similar age and height.
- Very restricted eating patterns.
- An intense fear of gaining weight or persistent behaviors to avoid gaining weight, despite being underweight.
- A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight.
- A heavy influence of body weight or perceived body shape on self-esteem.
- A distorted body image, including denial of being seriously underweight.
Two Different Types of Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia is officially categorized into two subtypes—a restricting type and a binge-eating and purging type.
Restricting type – 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 type – 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 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 are:
- The effects of the thinness culture in media, that constantly reinforce 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 be sexy
Treating Your Anorexia
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: The highest priority in the treatment of anorexia nervosa is addressing any serious health issues that may have resulted from the eating disordered behaviors, such as malnutrition, electrolyte imbalance, amenorrhea and an unstable heartbeat.
- Nutritional: 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.
The Honey Lake Clinic Difference
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 healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres, offering each client his or her greatest chance at wholeness and transformative growth.
This holistic approach and a combination of key factors makes our mental health program at Honey Lake Clinic different from the others in the country.
You’ll benefit from Honey Lake’s—
- Integration of a Bible-based approach and sound psychological principles
- Experienced, compassionate, and highly trained clinical staff
- Individualized treatment with a low caseload of patients per therapist
- Practical curriculum focused on decision-making mechanics and skills
- Emphasis on holistic healing of the mind, body, and spirit
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