Oasis Therapy and Wellness
What are Eating Disorders?

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are a complex and serious mental health issue that affects millions of individuals around the world. People with eating disorders struggle with a distorted perception of their body weight and shape and often engage in dangerous behaviors such as overeating, fasting, or purging to control their weight. Eating disorders can have serious and even life-threatening consequences, and it is important for those affected to seek help as soon as possible.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are several types of eating disorders, each with its own set of symptoms and behaviors. Some of the most common types of eating disorders include:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by self-starvation, excessive weight loss, and a fear of gaining weight. Those with anorexia often have a distorted image of their body, and they may see themselves as overweight even if they are dangerously thin.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating followed by purging, either through vomiting or the use of laxatives. Those with bulimia may be of normal weight or may be overweight, and they often feel out of control during binge eating episodes.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is marked by repeated binge eating episodes, in which a person eats too much food in a short amount of time and feels out of control. Those with binge eating disorder, unlike those with bulimia, do not purge after binge eating episodes.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)

OSFED encompasses a variety of eating disorders that do not neatly fit into the categories of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. Examples of OSFED include night eating syndrome, purging disorder, and binge-purge syndrome.

Treatments for Eating Disorders

Treatment for eating disorders depends on the type and severity of the disorder as well as the person’s own needs and preferences. Some common treatments for eating disorders include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps people with eating disorders figure out and change their negative patterns of thinking and acting about food and their bodies.

Family-Based Therapy (FBT)

FBT is a type of therapy that involves the family in the treatment process, and it has been shown to be effective in treating adolescents with anorexia.


Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be prescribed to treat the symptoms of certain eating disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Nutritional Counseling

Nutritional counseling can help individuals with eating disorders develop healthy eating habits and restore their physical health.

Support Groups

Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals with eating disorders to connect with others who understand what they are going through.

How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take to get help:

  1. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional
  2. Contact a support group or eating disorder organization
  3. Seek help from a registered dietitian or nutritionist
  4. Participate in individual or group therapy
  5. Consider joining a self-help or support group


Eating disorders are complex and dangerous conditions that require professional treatment. Understanding the different types of eating disorders, their symptoms, and the available treatments is the first step in getting help. Whether you are struggling with an eating disorder or seeking help for a loved one, it is important to seek support from trusted professionals. With the right support and treatment, recovery is possible. Remember that recovery is a journey, not a destination, and the path to wellness is unique for each person. If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, take the first step and reach out for help.