We’re hiring! View our open positions. 

Are you a current client? Contact your clinic 

What Is the Most Common Form of Disordered Eating?

Have you ever heard of disordered eating? It’s a term that describes a range of abnormal eating behaviors that can affect people of any age, gender, or cultural background. Disordered eating is a serious concern that can result in physical and psychological harm. Disordered eating can co-occur with other mental health concerns. At Columbia Associates, when clients come to us for mental health treatment and they also struggle with disordered eating, we offer outpatient treatment that can help them reach their goals.

Learn more about our treatment services by calling 703.682.8208 or reaching out online today.

What Is Disordered Eating?

Disordered eating is a term used to describe abnormal eating patterns that deviate from what is considered normal or healthy. It’s important to understand that disordered eating is not a diagnosis but a spectrum of behaviors that indicate concerns with food, eating, weight, and body image. These behaviors can range from minor to severe, from occasional to frequent, and from conscious to unconscious. Disordered eating can be caused by a combination of biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Without proper treatment, disordered eating can have serious health consequences, including malnutrition, dehydration, digestive issues, heart problems, and mental health disorders.

The Most Common Form of Disordered Eating

The most common form of disordered eating is called “subclinical disordered eating.” This means that a person does not meet the full criteria for an eating disorder but exhibits some of the symptoms and behaviors associated with it. Subclinical disordered eating can include:

  • Chronic dieting
  • Calorie counting
  • Binge eating
  • Purging
  • Fasting
  • Exercise addiction

While society may value thinness, these behaviors can cause serious harm to an individual’s body and mind. Subclinical disordered eating is more widespread than diagnosed eating disorders and affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.

An Overview of Common Eating Disorders

There are four common eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme restriction of food intake, severe weight loss, and distorted body image. People with anorexia may also engage in compulsive exercise or purging behaviors to maintain their weight.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by episodes of binge eating followed by purging, such as vomiting, laxative use, or overexercise. This disorder is often associated with feelings of guilt and shame.

Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behaviors. People with binge eating disorder may feel out of control, shameful, and guilty about their eating habits. They may also have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, that contribute to their disordered eating.

Finally, ARFID is an eating disorder that is characterized by severe food restriction and a significant fear of eating certain foods or feeling full. People with ARFID often experience extreme anxiety or distress when faced with certain types of food. This can lead to problems in social situations and difficulty meeting nutritional needs.

Disordered eating that is not severe enough to be considered an eating disorder can still have serious consequences on your mental and physical health.

Learn More About Mental Health Treatment at Columbia Associates

At Columbia Associates, our team of experienced and compassionate professionals offers comprehensive outpatient mental health treatment for a range of mental health concerns. We offer both in-person and telehealth appointments to support our patients no matter where they are, and we accept most insurance plans. Our programs include individualized care that addresses the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of mental health concerns using evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

If you or a loved one are struggling with disordered eating in addition to another mental health concern, reach out to us today. Our team is here to help you on your journey to better mental health and wellness. Contact Columbia Associates today by calling 703.682.8208 or reach out to us online to get started.