Types of eating disorders in children, Teenagers

Let us look at types of eating disorders in children and teenagers. There are different kinds  of eating disorder in children and it becomes essential to know which kind of eating disorder has afflicted your child. Before we learn about different types of children or teenage eating disorder, it is essential to know what eating disorder is.

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Eating disorder is malfunction characterized by unusual eating habits. For example a person suffering from eating disorder may overeat or restrict from food. This happens due to their extreme worry about the weight or shape of their body. Persons with the prevalence of eating disorder may show unusual daily behavior. There are three types or eating disorder in children which are explained below.

Anorexia nervosa:

The first kind of eating disorder in children is Anorexia Nervosa. The APAD (American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic) and DSM or (Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)  states that anorexia is a condition that can be characterized by understanding extremely low weight of the body and the denial to maintain appropriate body weight by the patient.  People with anorexia nervosa may also be afraid of gaining weight or may feel they are extremely corpulent; hence, they may work towards losing weight despite of already being underweight.  These people usually have poor weight of the body. Such people may deny from the fact that they are underweight and may consistently adopt ways to shed pounds. In case of female who are anorexic, they may not have menstrual cycles.

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Anorexia itself is further categorized in two types. In first kind or anorexia the individuals may restrict from having food; whereas in second type of anorexia the person may overeat only to barf out later. The second kind of anorexia includes self induced vomiting wherein the afflicted individual uses finger, enemas, diuretics or laxatives to remove the food out of their body. In equivalent cases of binging and purging, the anorexic person may eat less and then barf out.

Bulimia Nervosa:

Bulimia Nervosa is somewhat similar to anorexia nervosa, as it appears to be. But the mind frame of the affected person is different. This eating disorder in children is characterized by recursive cycle of uncontrollable eating, which is also called binge eating, and then feeling guilty and afraid of gaining weight. Hence, a person under such condition adopts measures to compensate for overeating.  Again, by using laxative, diuretics, enemas etc this leads to purging or excretion of eaten matters. However, a person with bulimia nervosa may also use non-purging options to compensate of overeating. This is done by fasting or doing excessive workouts or exercises.

In order to diagnose bulimia a person should experience binging and purging cycle at least two times in a week and minimum for three months. In case of bulimia nervosa a person need not be skinny or underweight as in anorexia nervosa, but he may enjoy good appropriate weight or some extra pounds.


The third type of eating disorder in children is EDNOS or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, wherein, a person may show symptoms of the two aforementioned teenage eating disorders buts does not satisfactorily qualify other criteria. EDNOS is most frequently diagnosed eating disorder in children.

Also read about PICA eating disorder

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