Why I differentiate Anorexia from other Eating Disorders – Michelle Sparkes

Why I differentiate Anorexia from other Eating Disorders

The reason I differentiate anorexia from other eating disorders is because there are two sub-types of anorexia – a restricting sub-type and a binge-eating/purging sub type. Understanding the difference is important when considering how best to approach and support someone with anorexia.

Unlike most ED presentations,  a person with anorexia (restricting sub-type) does not present with recurring binge eating and loss of control. This person progressively restricts the amount of food and calories they consume and often over-exercises BUT denies they have a problem because they (genuinely) do not see themselves as having one. This is because their behaviour is ego syntonic – it “fits” their desired self concept as a person who is good, in control, pure, powerful, needless (and other virtues they wish to embody).

It is generally not until a person with restricting anorexia starts to experience binge eating and loss of control that they are ready to reach out for help. This has implications for treatment and support. I will explore some thoughts around anorexia restricting and binge eating purging type in the next few episodes. I welcome your feedback and questions. michelle@michellesparkes.com @mp_sparkes

About the Author

Michelle is a physiotherapist and professional counsellor with lived experience of anorexia, EDNOS and binge-eating in her teen and early adult years. Founder of Women Worth their Weight, and author of Illuminating Anorexia Michelle is passionate about helping people recover from these health and life consuming problems.