What Are The Two Types Of Anorexia?

What Are The Two Types Of Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa, often referred to as anorexia, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex, chronic mental health illness, categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. The Mayo Clinic explains that anorexia is “characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight.” Anorexia is a disease that is divided into the following two subtypes:

  • The restricting type: “in which severe limitation of food intake is the primary means to weight loss,” and exhibiting food restrictive behaviors (e.g., counting calories, skipping meals, etc.).
  • The binge eating and purging type: “in which there are periods of food intake that are compensated by self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, and/ or excessive exercise.”

Engaging in these behaviors, either in binge eating and purging or in restricting is not only physiologically damaging but can be life-threatening. The effects of anorexia increase one’s risk of malnutrition and interfere with one’s ability to obtain needed essential minerals and nutrients. While the exact cause behind why a teen develops anorexia remains unknown, research has found that it is likely due to a combination of psychological, biological, and environmental factors.

Signs and Symptoms

Though anorexia can manifest at any age, experts suggest it most commonly develops during adolescence. There are many signs and symptoms that a teen struggling with anorexia may exhibit. The Mayo Clinic provides the following examples of common symptoms associated with anorexia:

  • Thin appearance
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Dizziness and/ or fainting
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Dry and/ or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Excessively exercising

Every teen is unique, and each has the propensity to present with any combination of the above examples. There are a variety of treatment options available for young people struggling with anorexia. The goal of treatment for teens with an eating disorder is to help them find a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. Although anorexia is considered to be a chronic disorder, with proper treatment an adolescent can learn how to effectively manage its symptoms.

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life in, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

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