Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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ATYPICAL EATING DISORDERS

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BODY POSITIVITY SERIES II

When people hear the word eating disorders, the most common ones that come to mind are anorexia and bulimia. This is due to the fact that they are the most openly discussed amongst individuals, but also because the effects of anorexia and bulimia are so noticeable. People without eating disorders often visualize these disorders as someone who is severely underweight, throwing up purposely, or binge eating. However, not every disorder looks like this. In recent years, professionals researched and opened the discussion of those who suffer from atypical eating disorders. 

An eating disorder is considered atypical if the person affected is not severely experiencing the common effects that come with these disorders, despite their eating habits. For example, one might be a healthy weight or even above average weight, but still suffer from what is known as atypical anorexia.

With this disorder, people affected still experience restrictive eating and extreme fear of gaining weight. However, they are not low enough in weight in order to meet the criteria for the more common anorexia nervosa. While one may see this as less severe because of the healthy weight or above weight number, it is not to be taken lightly. In fact, people affected should be treated with just as much care because oftentimes those affected do not even know they are struggling from an eating disorder. Because of the healthy weight, they may not think to seek treatment, even though they are suffering mentally from the fear of weight gain and the pressure to look thinner. This is dangerous because, if untreated, the disorder can develop into anorexia nervosa.

In addition to atypical anorexia, others suffer from body dysmorphia and orthorexia.

These are also common disorders that affect both men and women but are not often talked about because the media does not portray them. Body dysmorphia occurs when one becomes overly obsessed with their perceived flaws. This flaw is often not seen by others but only in the eye’s of the person affected. Oftentimes one affected can become so insecure about their body that they skip social situations where they may have to be seen. Orthorexia is the unhealthy obsession with eating healthy. Where eating healthy is of course a good thing, one is who orthorexic thinks way too often about the quality of food rather than the quantity. Especially nowadays, as dieting apps and online trainers push healthy eating, orthorexic people may feel pressure and be triggered by these types of things. 

While anorexia nervosa and bulimia do still of course need to be discussed and treated, atypical disorders that affect people cannot be silenced simply because it is not the norm in society. We must continue to learn and educate ourselves on disorders so that all people affected may obtain the resources and treatment they deserve.

 

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