Feeding and Eating Disorders

What are Feeding and Eating Disorders?

Feeding and eating disorders, as classified by the DSM-5, involve serious disturbances in eating behaviour that may be characterized by insufficient or excessive food intake. The four most common feeding and eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Feeding and Eating Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified (ex. Purging Disorder, Night Eating Syndrome).

Anorexia Nervosa involves an individual’s refusal to maintain a body weight at or above a minimally normal for their age and height through restriction of food intake or excessive exercise. An individual may experience intense fear of gaining weight, disturbances in perception of body weight and/or shape, denial of seriousness of low body weight, and/or amenorrhea (absence of at least 3 consecutive menstrual cycles) in females. Restricting food intake negatively impacts physical and mental health, and can cause heart and kidney problems, anemia, bone loss, gastrointestinal digestive problems, low heart rate, low blood pressure, and fertility problems. Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness in adolescents, and as many as 10% of people who experience anorexia die as a result of health problems or suicide.

Bulimia Nervosa involves recurrent episodes of uncontrollable binge-eating followed by compensatory purging behaviour (eliminating food via self-induced vomiting, laxatives, etc.). The periods of binge-eating are characterized by both:

  1. Eating in set period of time (ex. Within 2-hours) an amount of food that is substantially larger than the normal amount for the given period of time
  2. A sense of lack of control over

    Recurrent episodes of binge eating characterized by both 1)eating in discrete period of time (ex. Within 2 hr. period) an amount of food that is substantially larger than normal feeding behavior 2) A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (such as feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)

    Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.

    The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behavior both occur, at least twice a week for 3 months

    Self-evaluation unduly influenced by body shape and weight.

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