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Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorder: What’s the Difference?

Disordered Eating vs. Eating Disorder: What’s the Difference?

Normalized eating is when a person consumes food when hungry, adds a variety of foods to their diet, and is able to stop eating when full. We are looking at disordered eating vs. eating disorders because many people may be confused about what defines both disorders, though both are harmful to a person’s mental and physical health. Societal standards such as famous social media influencers play a significant role in the causes of eating disorders since there is much body image pressure to look a specific way. But what is the primary difference between disordered eating and eating disorders?

Eating the Same Food Everyday Disorder

What is disordered eating? Disordered eating refers to a variety of irregular eating patterns and behaviors.The disorder is more common than you may think and is primarily found in Western cultures. A person who acquires this disorder is often highly influenced by the social media world, such as comparing body images and feeling the pressure to look a certain way that society approves of.

Here are examples of disordered eating habits:

  • Skipping meals
  • Undereating or overeating
  • Following trendy weight diets
  • Eating the same food every day
  • Supplement misuse or taking diet pills
  • A lot of time spent and a focus on appearance

These behaviors and reluctance to eat healthy increase the chance of developing a serious eating disorder. Irregular eating patterns will be one of the first signs that a person is lacking in nutrients and is attempting to lose or gain weight. Appearance is usually a leading cause for people to establish this type of disorder or form an eating disorder.

Different Types of Eating Disorders

An eating disorder can be life-threatening because of the complexity of the disorder. People who abuse their bodies through a lack of healthy food intake are battling negative thoughts and emotions. There are various levels of eating disorders, from body dysmorphic disorder to purging. If you or a loved one is showing signs of an eating disorder, seeking help or creating a support system is highly recommended.

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders include dramatic weight loss or weight gain, drastic changes in food intake, and medical complications like dizziness, hair loss, or menstrual irregularities. Also, if a person is abusing supplements, pills, or laxatives, this can be a sign of an eating disorder. If a person is found eating in secret or lying about food intake, then these are also signs of a disorder.

The different common types of eating disorders include:

  • Pica
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Night eating syndrome
  • Compulsive overeating selective eating disorder

Although disordered eating and eating disorders are somewhat different, they both contribute to health complications. It’s not uncommon for people to seek binge eating disorder treatment or receive professional help for body dysmorphic disorder, which goes hand in hand with both eating disorders.

Eating Disorder Treatment at Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia

Whether you are seeking bulimia nervosa treatment or another form of treatment for an eating disorder, our Philadelphia eating disorder clinic has got you covered! Our experienced medical team will work with you to design a treatment plan that will achieve all your recovery goals. We provide a clean and safe environment to express yourself during the treatment process freely. 


Please, don’t hesitate to contact a professional at Banyan Philadelphia by calling 888-280-4763  and asking about our intensive outpatient program to get started on the path to recovery today!


Related Readings:

Common Anorexia Relapse Triggers

Binge Eating Triggers

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.