When we think of eating disorders, we only think of what's called anorexia nervosa. The image that flashes in our minds is that of a starved, visibly sick person (likely, a girl), with just a layer of skin covering the skeleton.
But, that's only one way an eating disorder can manifest. Let's start with the first misconception here. We stereotype eating disorders as a women's problem. It is difficult for us to imagine that a man can also suffer from it. But, eating disorders are gender neutral.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, there are eight eating disorders. Here are the four common ones.
Anorexia nervosa is the most common image of ED that we see. The characteristic features of this disorder are low body weight, a distorted body image, and a strong fear of gaining weight. There are two types of anorexia nervosa - the first one is the "restrictive" type, where the sufferer starves themselves. The second is "binge-eating / purging" type, where the person restricts what they eat, but also has episodes of binge-eating which is sometimes followed by vomiting.
Anorexia nervosa seriously damages the body, including the vital organs such as the heart, brain, and kidneys. It is a psychological disorder, at the root of which is anxiety, and low self-esteem. It is a serious illness, and can be fatal.