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What Are the Different Types of Eating Disorders?

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

by Matharasika Siventhira

Eating Disorders are defined as “mental health conditions where…the control of food [is utilised to] cope with feelings and other situations” (NHS, 2023).

Within the United Kingdom, it is estimated that over 700,000 individuals have been diagnosed with an eating disorder (ED) (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, 2019).

Whilst the overarching definition of an eating disorder may seem relatively easy to grapple with, there are a range of ED diagnoses. From Anorexia Nervosa to Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorders, each diagnosis is complex and multifaceted in nature, understanding the different types of Eating Disorders is imperative for aiding an individual's specific recovery and treatment journey.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterised by the loss of weight. As a result of a person's restriction to food or continual behaviour leads to a lower body weight. As a consequence, this can impact a person's perception of weight gain and can create a severe fear of gaining weight.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by short recurring episodes of uncontrollable eating which is known as binge eating. This then follows up with compensatory behaviours which can be in the form of self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, or excessive exercise.

Binge eating disorder (BED)

Unlike Bulimia Nervosa, binge eating disorder is characterised by the recurring episodes of binge eating without the compensatory behaviours. Often an individual's feels out of control, thus they experience a lot of shame, and guilt.


Pica is characterised by the eating of items which are not food, such as hair or dirt.

Orthorexia Nervosa

Orthorexia Nervosa is characterised by the obsession of eating healthy which could be detrimental to psychological and physical well-being. The focus is on the quality of the food, not how much food is being consumed or weight loss.

Atypical Eating Disorders/ Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

This diagnosis occurs when an individual does not meet a specific diagnostic criteria of an eating disorder. For example, they may have some of the symptoms which all coincide with extreme weight loss like anorexia nervosa yet an individual's weight may be within or above the norm.

Whilst the overall concept of an Eating Disorder may seem simple, it is far more complex and multifaceted. Remember you are not alone in your journey or if you know anyone who is suffering with an Eating Disorder, please contact the Team at CLiK and we can help:

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Side Effects of Under Eating

There are various reasons as to why a person may under-eat from participating in trends like dieting culture, excessive stress or being an individual with an eating disorder (Stewar et al., 2022; Wall


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