10 Most Dangerous Types of Eating Disorders

10 Most Dangerous Types of Eating Disorders - We refer to disturbed or abnormal eating habits as “eating disorders”. A number of conditions can express themselves in these harmful behaviors. Causes for eating disorders are usually found in an obsession with body weight, body shape or food. These disorders can often have serious health effects. They can even cause death in some cases.

There are a number of factors that can lead to eating disorders, including: brain biology, personality, cultural ideals and, in some cases, genetics. Anyone can succumb to eating disorders, no matter their age or gender. Nevertheless, adolescents and young women are especially likely to develop them. About 13% of young people - up to the age of 20 - may be affected by at least one kind of eating disorder.

10 Most Dangerous Types of Eating Disorders

Here’s a list of the most harmful eating disorders, as well as the serious consequences that can arise from them.

10. Night Eating Syndrome
This disorder is as common among women as among men. It is less well known than others, but occurs often enough to merit attention. Simply put, people with this disorder, eat food during the night. They might hide food - to eat when they are unobserved. They may also be overweight or have once had a substance abuse problem. Night eating syndrome can lead to high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Many people diagnosed with this disorder also suffer from depression and a range of sleep disorders. Anxiety also afflicts many of them, which can even exacerbate their night-eating habit. What is especially interesting is that this disorder often manifests itself in people after they have failed to stick to a diet. These sufferers, in order to lose weight, limit their caloric intake during the day. Hunger, however, overcomes them at night and compels them to make up for the missing calories.

9. Nocturnal Sleep-Eating Disorder
People with this disorder literally get out of bed during the night and eat - often excessively. One rather unique aspect of this disorder, is that most people can’t remember actually getting out of bed and eating. Even people who do remember their nocturnal activity are unable to prevent it by themselves.

This disorder is very similar to sleepwalking - in the sense that it can be very difficult to wake someone who is sleep-eating. During a sleep-eating event, people’s eating habits can be very different from their normal eating behavior. They may, for example, eat food items that they normally only eat in combination with other foods. Sugar, butter, jam are just a few examples.

When sufferers are sleep-eating, they usually eat foods that are very high in calories - especially sugary foods. As a result of the additional calories, these sufferers often gain weight. There are other dangers too. Sleep-eaters might unintentionally eat something non-edible or combine foods in unhealthy ways.

8. Pregorexia
Some pregnant women act to prevent or regulate their weight - often to prevent gaining too much weight. Pregorexia describes behavior and symptoms during pregnancy that are similar to those exhibited in others suffering from eating disorders. Pregnant women who are more worried about their weight than about their health, often engage in excessive exercise.

Of course, due to their different physiques and physical condition, what is “excessive”for one woman, might not be so for another. Yet women who typically train to the point of collapse, are engaging in excessive behavior. What can make things even worse, is that this obsession with weight will also affect how a woman eats. If she takes in too few calories, she could endanger the health of the unborn child. This can result in insufficient weight at birth, growth retardation, and even serious birth defects.

7. Bigorexia
Also known as Muscle Dysmorphia, Bigorexia is a variant of body dysmorphic disorder. This occurs in people who think that their body is too small or skinny, insufficiently muscular or lean. This type of behavior most often occurs in males, but some females also have this disorder. These sufferers find defects in their body or figure - that are not defects at all.

They may also inspect their bodies for hours in a mirror, and obsess over some tiny “flaw”. People with Bigorexia engage in repetitive activities and rituals meant to increase muscle mass. What’s interesting, is that people with this disorder will often hide their sculpted physique under loose clothing, rather than show it off.

This is because they believe that anyone would be able to spot the physical flaws that they obsess over. Although this disorder involves other behavior, an obsession with one’s body will often affect a person’s eating habits. In an effort to attain or maintain their figures, sufferers might insist on eating specific foods.

These people are typically fickle about what they eat and when, and they obsess about their diet most of the day. Many of them will get extreme with their diets in order to gain muscle mass or eliminate body fat. They may also turn to steroids. This disorder actually arises from a powerful sense of inadequacy. This lack of self-worth can negatively affect other areas of their lives, including their relationships with others.

6. Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
This is a new name for what was previously known as “selective eating disorder”. The diagnosis for this disorder was once made exclusively in children seven years old and younger. Although this disorder usually manifests in children during infancy or early childhood, it can persist into adulthood; and it is equally common in both men and women.

People with this disorder often experience a distaste for certain smells, tastes, colors,textures or temperatures. They may also simply lack interest in eating. Sufferers often lose a significant amount of weight, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Their psychological health might also be negatively affected, and they may lean on nutritional supplements to maintain their health.

5. Orthorexia Nervosa
This disorder describes people who are obsessed with eating only pure and healthy foods. Such foods often include organic or health store foods. Sufferers of this disorder are extremely preoccupied with what they eat, how much they eat, and how their food is prepared. Their obsession with the ideal diet can reach such an extreme, that should they violate their own dieting rules, they will actually punish themselves.

This punishment can take the form of an even stricter diet, or fasting. This obsession with “healthy” foods is what can make this disorder particularly dangerous. It can actually disable sufferers, taking over their life. This constant preoccupation with food can deprive life of joy. Everything else - school, work, personal relationships - take a back seat and become unimportant to someone suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa. Some people even take things so far that they suffer from life-threatening malnourishment.

4. Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa classifies people suffering this disorder, either as “purging bulimics” or "non-purging bulimics”. After ingesting a large amount of food, the former will induce vomiting or use other purging methods in order to rid themselves of the calories; the latter, engage in excessive exercise.

Many factors can lead to bulimia. Among these are an obsession with body weight or form, a compulsion to eat until it hurts,and a fear of weight gain. Bulimia is much more than “bingeing” and “purging”. Bulimics often go on restrictive diets between binges, and abuse laxatives and herbal weight loss products.

This eating disorder can have terrifying consequences; yet those who suffer from it, typically think that they will get away with their behavior. The potential problems associated with bulimia include: kidney failure caused by excessive dehydration, addiction to laxatives, digestive problems, and severe tooth decay resulting from the stomach acid contained in vomit. Others can develop irregular heartbeats and die from heart failure. Females may also miss their periods.

3. Anorexia Nervosa
This eating disorder tends to get the most attention from the media, because sufferers become shockingly emaciated. A number of famous entertainers in particular, have suffered from this, and their photos provide the media with sensational stories. People suffering from Anorexia, feel compelled to lose as much weight as they can by drastically restricting calories.

In some cases, anorexics weigh less than 100 pounds, even though they are on average more than 5 feet tall. Yet, not every sufferer is obviously underweight. And despite what one often sees in the media, not every one of them is female. Moreover, their behaviors are not limited to extreme dieting. Some people with anorexia behave much like bulimics do.

They may voluntarily purge themselves, as is common for bulimics. They may also exhibit rather unusual habits. Some, for example, do not like eating in the company of other people. Others are so obsessed with losing weight, that they take diet pills in excessive amounts. They will even use diuretics to lower their weight, even though the weight lost is merely their own bodily water.

Anorexia can lead to health complications that are every bit as grave as those caused by bulimia. These complications include a decrease in white blood cell count - which weakens the immune system and leaves sufferers vulnerable to frequent illness. Anorexics are also at risk of malnutrition, tooth decay, thyroid problems, and seizures. Females often suffer from irregular periods. Anorexic behavior can also result in low blood potassium. This is a particularly dangerous threat to health, as it can lead to serious heart problems.

2. Binge Eating Disorder
Symptoms of this disorder are very similar to anorexia or bulimia. Sufferers commonly eat large quantities of food in a short amount of time. They usually feel helpless to control their consumption when bingeing. In contrast with the other disorders I’ve mentioned, bingers don’t compensate for their consumption by limiting calories, purging, or exercising excessively. They feel disgusted with themselves after they have binged.

Paradoxically, these feelings often cause them to binge again - regardless of whether they feel hungry or not. Bingers often appear perfectly normal to others because they tend to binge only when alone. This habit, however, can cause a number of very serious health problems, like: heart failure, kidney disease and diabetes. And of course, many of them become obese, which can also lead to other health problems.

1. Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Some people may behave in ways that are typical of a number of other eating disorders, yet not display all the behaviors necessary for making a specific diagnosis. These individuals, then receive a diagnosis of  “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified”. But this diagnosis is not very helpful for when it comes to treatment.

The lack of a more specific diagnosis can leave sufferers feeling somewhat helpless and unsure as to whether they actually have a disorder. This, and the fact that many of them look perfectly normal, can make it very difficult for them to get effective treatment. Sufferers may have symptoms associated with Anorexia - such as extreme calorie restriction; while at the same time also exhibiting purging behaviors - normally associated with Bulimia.

This condition, although rather vague, can pose a serious threat to a person’s health. The consequences can even be life-threatening. Despite the large number of people who suffer from eating disorders, a stigma is still attached to them. This is unfortunate, as it can lead to misconceptions. This list, therefore, can be of great help in understanding the most dangerous types- as their consequences are not only physical in nature, but emotional as well. Anyone who suspects that they could have an eating disorder should seek the help of a licensed medical professional.
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