Post by Dr oluwakemi bamiloye

This post aims to create awareness about various types of eating disorders and encourage sufferers to seek help.

Being a person who has battled with my weight for virtually my entire teenage and adult life and suffered from different types of eating disorders, this is a topic that is of particular interest to me. I may not be an expert on the subject but I certainly do have first hand knowledge of the horrors and insecurities it can bring. Worst still is the fact that this is rarely talked about in any sphere of the African continent or even ignored altogether.

Eating disorders are fairly common, more common than most of us care to admit, among children and adult humans. Some statistics show that every 3 in 10 people experience one form of eating disorder at some point in their life. Sadder still is the fact that not only is this rarely acknowledged or properly diagnosed but it is treated with a great deal of levity and often ignored until it gets to critical stages.

Eating disorder is a mental condition defined by abnormal or negative eating habits, which would affect the sufferer diversely, either short-term or long-term and may even become life threatening.

There are so many types of eating disorders known and unknown and unfortunately a lot of it goes undiagnosed,  although the causes of eating disorder is not clear, overtime a lot of research has been carried out on the subject and it is obvious that environmental, physiological and biological factors play a part. Information has been collated  in this post, simply to point out the various types of eating disorders and create awareness about the issue, also to provide a safe haven for sufferers to talk about the various eating disorders they may have experienced or are experiencing.

Here are 9 of the most common types of eating disorders known, does any of them sound like what you or someone close might be experiencing?


This is widely regarded as the most common eating disorder. it is characterized by a recurring need to eat or overeat, at odd times or when not hungry and merely out of the desire for food or a particular food, which is usually as a result of other underlying physical or mental factors.  Sufferers usually experience serious lack of control and may seem unable to stop even while feeling a sense of guilt and desperation. This affects a wide range of individuals of different ages, gender and socioeconomic class.


Popularly known as thinning sickness or vanity fade, is characterized by an obsessive, often unfounded fear of gaining weight or a deliberate refusal to do so. The sufferers are often paralyzed by a very serious and sometimes irrational fear of looking fat, this leads to poor and unhealthy eating which becomes  detrimental to the health of the sufferers. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that can affect a wide range of people it often leads to deterioration of health, insomnia,massive mood swings, bone loss, skin loss, muscle and tissue loss, it can cause menstruation and other body functions to stop or become irregular and places great stress on the organs of the body. Anorexia nervosa has often been looked at as a problem of the rich or excessive vanity or the need to look a certain way, caused by social factors, but recent research has shown that it could also be brought about by biological factors.


Types of eating disorders

This is a fairly common eating disorder among children and younger adults but also among adults of any age, gender or socioeconomic class. compulsive overeating disorder is characterized by consumption of large quantities of food in a short time. COE may be sporadic or frequent, sufferers may feel unsatisfied despite eating large quantities of food, which should otherwise be satisfactory, causing them to overeat. Over time this may lead to excessive weight gain.


People experiencing this type of eating disorder may frequently eat unusually large amounts of food in a relatively short time. This may happen as a result of not eating satisfactorily for long periods or avoiding a specific type of food, probably due to dieting or other reasons,  then overeating it due to excessive cravings.

Individuals with this type of eating disorder usually try to compensate by attempting to purge, induce vomiting, take laxatives to get rid of the excessive food as it often leads to gut discomfort, feeling of restlessness, which then causes the sufferers to avoid overeating or eating certain foods for long periods then may indulge again as the cravings return.


This is an eating disorder that is very common in children and also fairly common in adults. People experiencing this type of eating disorder tend to be overly picky about what they eat. It is popularly called “picky eating” individuals experiencing this type of eating disorder, are extremely sensitive to how food tastes, which can cause excessive dislike for certain foods. This is dangerous and could be detrimental as the unwanted or disliked  foods, may be foods that are required to maintain a healthy body system and as such, they may begin to lack certain nutrients which could lead to deterioration of health.


Individuals experiencing this type of eating disorder may be obsessed with “eating healthy” or “pure dieting” they may become obsessed with avoiding unhealthy food, to a point where it may begin to interfere with their social lives, mental health, and general well-being. This type of eating disorder may be caused by fear of certain sicknesses, religious practices, customs and traditions that require people to eat or not eat a certain way.


This is a type of eating disorder that is unique to pregnant women, who may engage in excessive dieting and exercising in order to control weight gain associated the pregnancy. This is really dangerous as it can lead to undernutrition which can cause serious harm to the mother and baby. This is an eating disorder that is fairly common but often disregarded or looked at as a passing phase.


Muscle dysmorphia is an eating disorder that affects mostly men or body builders.  It is characterized by a feeling of being too small or too skinny, thereby causing sufferers to experience inferiority complex and feelings of inadequacy. This greatly affects their social life. Individuals experiencing this type of eating disorder tend to get into various unhealthy eating habits, excessive consumption of supplements and drug abuse.


Treatment can be effective for many types of eating disorders. Treatment of various types of  eating disorders typically involves counselling, therapy, proper dieting, proper and  regular exercising and in more severe cases medical care and monitoring may be required, early and proper diagnosis is very important.

Eating disorders of any kind should never be treated with levity, taken for granted or ignored, as this could lead to it gaining a stronger hold on the sufferer, and also lead to serious deterioration of health. If you or anyone close is experiencing any type of eating disorder, or strange eating habits, you must seek help immediately and also try to identify and address certain underlying causes, especially in children.

Feel free to talk about the types of eating disorder you or some one else may have experienced in the comment section and how you have coped with it.


You can reach Dr oluwakemi bamiloye via email

Also read post by the same contributor >>> 7 super foods you should eat as often as possible



  1. The Anorexia Nervosa(AN) affected me sometime ago.I had irregular menstruation cycle,until I received medical help,now it’s regular.Eating disorder can pose very great challenge to one’s health and pattern of life.


  3. I didn’t realize there were so many types of eating disorders. I only knew about four of these. I hope this helps people become more aware and help those that need treatment.

  4. Thank you for sharing this knowledge. I did not know that BINGE EATING DISORDER can occur due to physical or mental factors. I have heard about BULIMIA, ORTHOREXIA and ANOREXIA NERVOSA but I was not aware that it could be brought on by biological and other factors. I never heard about the SELECTIVE EATING DISORDER/picky eating. It is good that you mentioned the treatments as well 🙂

  5. Whoa. This was really interesting. I never knew about some of these disorders. In fact I may even have orthorexia myself. I didn’t even know it was a thing. Thanks for this insightful post!

  6. I am familiar with several of the disorders, but have never heard of selective disorder or muscle dysmorphia. I had pretty bad issues with food when I was in high school and through a portion of college. I really wanted to fit into an “ideal” that was determined by strangers. My relationship with food has always been a strange one. You need it to live, but only a certain amount. Thank you for sharing this post. I appreciate it.

  7. Oh my, I think I have the binge eating disorder. I know sometimes I am not hungry but just want to eat most of the time. Thank you for all the information about it!


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