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Eating Disorders |Lakewood, CA

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is a serious condition characterized by typical or extreme eating behaviors and can include significant distress regarding one’s body weight or shape. At least 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. It can often disrupt the person’s life and lead to tragic psychological and medical consequences. Eating disorders have the highest death rate of all mental disorders, and research has shown that one person dies as a result of an eating disorder every hour. Eating disorders can happen to anyone of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, or class.

What are the different types of eating disorders?

The Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has identified specific eating disorders and their symptoms in order to help professionals effectively identify and treat these conditions. Below is a list of the types eating disorders, with the first three being the most common: 

  • Anorexia – A preoccupation with body weight and limiting food intake, resulting in a very low body weight. May also include other behaviors such as vomiting after meals, the use of laxatives or diet pills, and intense exercising. 
  • Bulimia – Repeated instances of eating significantly more food than what most people would eat in a short period of time, followed by behaviors to compensate for the food eaten, such as vomiting, intense exercising, or the use of diet pills or laxatives.
  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED) – Recurring instances of binge eating, which can be described as eating large amounts of food in a short period of time accompanied by feeling a loss of control.
  • Selective Eating Disorder (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) – An eating pattern where the person is unable meet their body’s energy or nutritional needs. Foods consumed may be limited based on poor appetite, prior experiences, or the characteristics of the food.
  • Pica – Eating substances that have no nutritional value, such as chalk or clay.
  • Rumination Disorder – Repeated regurgitation or vomiting of food. The regurgitated food may be re-chewed, re-swallowed or spit out. 
  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) – Eating behaviors that meet some criteria for the eating disorders listed above, but not all. For example, an individual may have symptoms of bulimia, but the symptoms may be less frequent. 
  • Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder – Eating behaviors that do not meet criteria for the eating disorders listed above, but still cause emotional distress and impairment in daily life.

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What causes an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are complex conditions that are often the result of many different factors. It is important for loved ones to know that they are not the cause, and that an eating disorder develops from a multitude of factors unique to each person. They can include:

  • Genetics
  • Emotional factors
  • Cultural factors
  • Interpersonal factors

Although the focus seems to be on food, eating disorders are about much more than food. Individuals who suffer from eating disorders are often highly sensitive, so they might experience feelings, events, and major life changes more intensely. The food might be a way for the individual to cope with overwhelming emotions or stress and can provide a temporary distraction. Additionally, it may be a way for an individual to communicate or express their emotional experiences to others.

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Take a tour of our Lakewood, CA Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Center For Discovery Lakewood, CA specializes in treating eating disorders and the co-occurring conditions that are accompanied with them, with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.

For more information, resources, or to consult with an eating disorder treatment specialist, call 562.740.8307

Do I have an eating disorder?
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Does my loved one have an eating disorder?
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Do I have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Does my loved one have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Why is treatment for an eating disorder important?

Eating disorders can lead to life-threating medical and psychological consequences, and they often co-exist with other conditions, such as depression or anxiety. If an individual is struggling with an eating disorder, it is difficult for them to recover without professional help. Only about one third of people with an eating disorder ever receive treatment, and 87% of adolescents with one go untreated. Experts have found that early intervention can significantly improve an individual’s chance of recovery. With help from a team of specialists, an individual with an eating disorder can be successfully treated with long-term recovery.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • ANAD: Eating disorder types and symptoms. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  • Eating Disorders Coalition: Facts about eating disorders. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  • NEDA: Factors that may contribute to eating disorders. Retrieved February 13, 2017.