Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)
One of the most interesting eating disorders that doctors diagnose is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Patients who receive this diagnosis may exhibit signs of multiple eating disorders and not fall neatly into a diagnosis of anorexia or bulimia. A report from ABC News shares that up to 70 percent of all eating disorders may fall under a diagnosis of EDNOS, which means the condition could impact the lives of millions of Americans. People who receive a diagnosis of EDNOS may exhibit behaviors from multiple disorders but not display all the behaviors required for a doctor to make a diagnosis of a specific disorder.
This lack of a diagnosis can leave patients in a strange limbo where they don’t feel as though they have a “real” eating disorder and that their behaviors aren’t really disordered. However, people who suffer from EDNOS can suffer just as greatly as individuals diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia. The ABC News report shares further that EDNOS has a mortality rate of 5.2 percent, which exceeds both anorexia and bulimia. Further complicating matters regarding an EDNOS diagnosis is that many patients appear normal, which can hamper efforts to get treatment.
A person with EDNOS may exhibit signs of anorexia nervosa and the extreme restriction of calories while also engaging in bulimia nervosa behaviors like vomiting recently eaten food. People who are diagnosed with EDNOS may require residential treatment in a facility that treats eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Despite the non-specific sound of this eating disorder it is, nevertheless, a serious condition with life-or-death consequences.
The term Orthorexia was coined about twenty years ago by a Dr. Steven Bratman who used the Greek word “orthos,” meaning “right,” to describe people who took healthy eating to such an extreme that it impacted their health and social lives. Although the emphasis on “clean” eating might lead a sufferer to mimic some of the behaviors of anorexia, the conditions are only related. According to Dr. Bratman, people who develop orthorexia sometimes suffer from other issues like OCD.
It seems incredible that anyone could be diagnosed with an eating disorder because of an obsessive desire to eat pure and healthy foods, but some people take orthorexia to such an extreme that they become malnourished to the point of death. Although addiction to food as a part of binge eating disorder (BED) is more common than orthorexia, the overall idea of these diagnoses is that obsession with food consumes the person’s life and makes them withdraw from society to focus on every morsel of food that passes their lips.
The National Eating Disorders Association reveals that orthorexia isn’t actually included in the DSM, but the condition is still recognized as a problem that impacts many people who have taken their fixation with healthy eating to an unhealthy level. People who suffer from orthorexia have incredible willpower that helps them maintain such incredible control over the food they eat. The condition can come out of a person’s motivation to eat healthily, but it may also develop due to problems with self-esteem, a lack of personal identity, and spiritual explorations.
Although it is sometimes featured in movies in a joking manner, bulimia nervosa is definitely not a joke. People who suffer from this condition are classified as “purging bulimia” or “non-purging bulimia” and will either engage in self-induced vomiting, fasting, or excessive exercise to get rid of calories after a high-calorie food binge. Today, it’s common to hear people talk about bingeing in relation to watching excessive hours of television, but when the behavior refers to the intake of an extreme number of calories, things get very dangerous.
People who suffer from bulimia may consume thousands of calories in a single sitting before heading to the bathroom to engage in self-induced vomiting. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many symptoms that may lead to bulimia including a preoccupation with body shape and weight, eating enough to feel pain, and being fearful of weight gain. Bulimia is much more than the cycle of bingeing and purging usually associated with the condition. Its sufferers may also restrict calories between binges, use laxatives, and abuse herbal weight loss products.
The complications associated with bulimia are frightening, but people who engage in bingeing and purging often believe that none of these problems will ever happen to them. Problems that may occur when a person engages in bulimia include kidney failure from severe dehydration, laxative dependence, absent periods in females, digestive problems, and severe tooth decay from the effects of stomach acid. People with bulimia can even develop irregular heartbeats and die from heart failure.