The following guide is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or give medical advice.
What are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are behavioral conditions characterized by severe and persistent disturbance in eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions. Eating disorders are often associated with preoccupations with food, weight or shape, or with anxiety about eating or the consequences of eating certain foods. Behaviors associated with eating disorders including restrictive eating or avoidance of certain foods, binge eating, purging by vomiting or laxative misuse, or compulsive exercise. These behaviors can become driven in ways that appear similar to an addiction.
(American Psychiatric Association, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders)
Common Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms
Binge Eating Disorder
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
Regularly eating non-food, non-nutritional items such as:
Rumination syndrome is a condition in which people repeatedly and unintentionally spit up (regurgitate) undigested or partially digested food from the stomach, rechew it, and then either reswallow it or spit it out.
(Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia-nervosa/symptoms-causes/syc-20353591; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/symptoms-causes/syc-20353615; About Kids Health, https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/article?contentid=275&language=english; Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/pica#symptoms; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rumination-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20377330)
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It’s based on the idea that negative actions or feelings are the results of current distorted beliefs or thoughts, not unconscious forces from the past. CBT is a blend of
This is the only evidence-based treatment for teenagers with anorexia. Because the teenager with anorexia is unable to make good choices about eating and health while in the grips of this serious condition, this therapy mobilizes parents to help their child with re-feeding and weight restoration until the child can make good choices about health.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This therapy helps you not just develop new skills to handle negative triggers but also helps you develop insight to recognize triggers or situations where a non-useful behavior might occur. Specific skills include building mindfulness, improving relationships through interpersonal effectiveness, managing emotions and tolerating stress.
This therapy addresses difficulties in your close relationships, helping to improve your communication and problem-solving skills.
Dietitians can design an eating plan to help you achieve healthy eating habits to avoid hunger and cravings and to provide good nutrition.
Group therapy is where people can find support and openly discuss their feelings and concerns with others who share common experiences.
Some eating disorder programs may offer day treatment.
Used for Rumination Disorder, this prevents abdominal contractions and regurgitation.
Biofeedback is part of behavioral therapy for rumination syndrome. During biofeedback, imaging can help you or your child learn diaphragmatic breathing skills to counteract regurgitation.
Used to aid in increasing weight.
The only FDA-approved antidepressant for treating bulimia.
The first FDA-approved medication to treat moderate to severe binge-eating disorder in adults.
Normally used to control seizures, topiramate has also been found to reduce binge-eating episodes.
Sometimes prescribed to reduce anxiety related to eating.
(Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/cognitive-behavioral-therapy; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia-nervosa/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353597; Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9794-anorexia-nervosa#management-and-treatment; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/diagnosis-treatment; /drc-20353621; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/binge-eating-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353633; verywellhealth, https://www.verywellhealth.com/avoidant-restrictive-food-intake-disorder-treatment-5186650; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rumination-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377333)
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin books about Eating Disorders consult our library catalog. Some ebooks may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin databases consult our A-Z Database List. Databases may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
You may want to get help for an eating disorder if it lasts for a long period of time or begins to interfere with your ability to function, such as eat, study, and have fun. TU has counselors who would love to help you with any eating disorder.
This site provides information about and contact information for TU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
If you are having a mental health crisis, the following sites provide help: