Difference Between Eating Disorders Explained

Heather Campbell
 min read

Difference between eating disorders is important to understand.

Difference Between Eating Disorders ExplainedMillions of people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder (a mental illness with disturbed eating behavior as a characteristic).

As a whole, all eating disorders have an unhealthy obsession with food. Yet they differ in discernible ways. Some may have excessive weight loss, others uncontrollable eating periods, or a combination of the two. Only a specialist or doctor can make the diagnosis correctly.

The most well-known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

The differences between these types of eating disorders are discussed below.

What is the difference between eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa?

Anorexia and bulimia are two different eating disorders that have an obsession with food and body weight as a common feature.

Yet, there are also differences between the two.

Whereas with anorexia nervosa you can lose a lot of body weight in a short period, with bulimia nervosa this is often not the case.

When you have anorexia, you eat very little because you are afraid of gaining weight. At the same time, with bulimia, you alternate excessive binge eating with periods of eating little or methods of losing the calories consumed (compensating).

Yet the dividing line between the various eating disorders is not always sharply drawn. Anorectic periods and bulimic periods can alternate, succeed, or even coexist.

Yet they are two separate eating disorders with specific characteristics of their own. For example, someone with bulimia often has an average body weight. In contrast, someone with anorexia is more likely to be underweight.

Difference between bulimia nervosa and a Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder or BED is another eating disorder similar to bulimia nervosa.

Suppose you have Binge Eating Disorder, then like bulimia nervosa. In that case, you have uncontrollable binge eating (like binge eating late at night) without compensating for it (unlike bulimia, where one compensates by vomiting or other methods).

So the consequence of an eating disorder like a Binge Eating Disorder is that you can gain a lot of weight in a short period of time.

Although Binge Eating Disorder and bulimia nervosa are both characterized by an uncontrollable urge to eat, they are really 2 different eating disorders.

Because while in bulimia nervosa you do everything you can to compensate for calorie intake, this compensatory behavior is not part of Binge Eating Disorder.

Difference between Binge Eating Disorder and obesity

Obesity comes with serious health risks and means being severe to very severely overweight. Although Binge Eating Disorder often leads to obesity, they differ in form.

For example, obesity is not an eating disorder, but it can be the result of an eating disorder.

In addition, a person with obesity does not have to binge eat, while experiencing binge eating is one of the conditions to speak of Binge Eating Disorder.

Difference between eating disorders: Conclusion

Eating disorders are serious and very complex, so it is essential to identify them in time.

Only a specialist or doctor can make the diagnosis correctly and with certainty and suggest the appropriate treatment. So be sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have any suspicions or doubts.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More