What are the 5 Most Common Eating Disorders?

most common eating disorders people at a table eating


First, eating disorders are complex conditions that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or body types. They are marked by a range of unhealthy eating behaviors and attitudes, often stemming from a combination of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Sanford Behavioral Health Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders (Sanford CTED) provides dedicated care and support to adolescents and adults through outpatient and residential programs. Our goal is to help individuals progress through a continuum of care tailored to their specific needs, whether through in-person or virtual options. Following are the five most common eating disorders and information about each.


What are the Most Common Eating Disorders?

1. Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a condition characterized by the refusal of food and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Individuals with anorexia often exhibit strange eating behaviors, obsessional routines, and a denial of hunger or weight loss. This condition results in a disturbance in how body image is seen and experienced. Individuals with anorexia not only believe their body is larger than it is, but they also feel as if they are taking up more space than they actually are. [read more...]

For additional information:


Anorexia in Larger Bodies? Busting Misdiagnosis and Stigma



2. Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) typically begins in early childhood but may not be addressed until adulthood. People with ARFID avoid certain foods due to their textures, smells, and fear of vomiting or choking rather than concerns about weight gain. This avoidance can lead to weight loss or a failure to gain weight as expected for their age. In some cases, these behaviors may start to resemble those of someone with anorexia nervosa. Properly diagnosing ARFID requires significant expertise. [read more…]

Notes from Dr Anna Flores’s presentation “Talking About Food with Your Child”:

Talking About Food With Your Child – Dr. Anna Flores



most common eating disorders

Treating anorexia nervosa, ARFID, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and OSFED.


3. Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a serious condition characterized by uncontrollable and continuous eating, even when one feels uncomfortably full. People with this disorder often feel a sense of being out of control and may experience feelings of shame or self-hatred. Additionally, noticeable changes in body weight are common among individuals with binge eating disorder. Furthermore, it’s important to note that many individuals with binge eating disorder also experience coexisting conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders. Recognizing and understanding these coexisting conditions is crucial in providing effective support and treatment for those affected by binge eating disorder. [read more…]

For Additional Information:

What is the Most Common Eating Disorder?




4. Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa, a serious eating disorder, is characterized by a cycle of excessive eating followed by compensatory behaviors such as induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and fasting. People with bulimia often exhibit a pattern of secrecy, where they appear to eat small or average amounts with others but engage in binge-eating episodes in private. This secretive behavior can make it challenging for loved ones to recognize the signs of bulimia. Aside from the symptoms related to food and eating, individuals with bulimia may also struggle with impulse control issues, including substance use disorders. It’s important to note that bulimia can have serious physical and psychological consequences. Seeking professional help and support is crucial for individuals with bulimia to initiate their journey towards recovery and improved well-being. [read more…]

Dr. Anna Flores on Eating Disorder Awareness:

Eating Disorder Awareness – 5 Questions for Dr. Anna Flores



5. Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)

OSFED, which stands for other specified feeding or eating disorder, is a classification for individuals who do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for other specific eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder. People with OSFED may exhibit a range of disordered eating behaviors and attitudes towards food and body image. Individuals with OSFED often experience a distorted body image, which means they perceive their bodies inaccurately. This can lead to behaviors such as extreme dieting, excessive exercise, or other unhealthy weight control methods. They may also have disturbed eating habits, such as irregular eating patterns or secretive eating. It is important to note that while individuals with OSFED may not meet the strict criteria for other eating disorders, they still deserve understanding, support, and access to appropriate treatment and care. [read more...]

Take a Tour of Sanford Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders:

compress Sanford west bedroom purple with teddy Brian-min

Residential Eating Disorder Treatment – Take the Tour


Eating Disorder Assessments

When an individual enters a Sanford CTED program, complete psychiatric assessments are performed. In addition, clients will have bio-psycho-social evaluations completed at the start of treatment by masters-level clinicians to identify the appropriate levels of care, current physical and mental health symptoms, eating disorder behaviors, and nutritional status.


You are not alone in your eating disorder. Help is waiting for you. At Sanford Behavioral Health, we offer residential and outpatient eating disorder treatment to support individuals in finding healing and hope for their future. Please contact us at 844-448-7700 for more information about our program and how we can support you on your path.



Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.