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A to Z
of Eating Disorders

Anorexia nervosa: An eating disorder that is defined by extreme food restriction, significant weight loss despite low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight.

Atypical anorexia nervosa: An eating disorder that is defined by extreme food restriction, significant weight loss and an intense fear of gaining weight.

ARFID: An eating disorder that is defined by an eating problem (such as avoidance of sensory characteristics of food, lack of appetite, concern about aversive consequence of eating) that leads to issues with meet nutritional and/or energy requirements.

Bulimia nervosa: An eating disorder that is defined by episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours (such as purging or compulsive exercise), which are intended to prevent weight gain.

Binge eating disorder: An eating disorder that is defined by repeated episodes of binge eating, without the use of compensatory measures (such as purging or compulsive exercise).

Body Mass Index (BMI): Calculating a person’s body mass index (BMI) is one way of trying to determine whether someone falls within a healthy weight range. BMI is calculated based on someone’s height and weight.

Body dysmorphia: A body-image disorder defined by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.

Body Image: How a person sees themselves when looking in a mirror and beliefs about one’s appearance.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): A treatment approach for eating disorders and other mental health problems, that targets unhelpful behaviours and thoughts.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): A treatment approach for eating disorders and other mental health problems that emphasises the psychosocial aspects of treatment.

Day Programs: Treatment services that provide a step down from hospital treatment or a step-up from outpatient services. Typically offered at specialist clinics.

Disordered eating: Eating behaviours that are considered maladaptive and associated with eating disorders (e.g., fasting or binge eating).

Eating disorders: A range of disorders characterised by disordered eating behaviours, and in some case body image problems.

Family therapy: A treatment approach for eating disorders and other mental health problems, that includes works with families to nurture change and development.

Fasting: A disordered eating behaviour which is characterised by going without food for a long period of time (more than 8 hours) typically in an attempt to alter one’s weight or shape.

Inpatient services: Treatment services that are offered to residential patients in a hospital or clinic.

Muscle dysmorphia: A body-image disorder defined by preoccupations with muscularity and at-tempts to increase one’s muscularity despite possible negative outcomes (e.g., dieting, steroid use).

Night-eating Syndrome: An eating disorder that is defined by eating at night whilst awake.

Obesity: Weight that is above a weight considered normal based on BMI

Other specified eating disorders: A range of eating disorders, which are not considered “full spectrum” disorders, such as subthreshold disorders, purging disorder, or night eating syndrome. 

Orthorexia: Refers to an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating, which has not yet been recognized as a diagnostic disorder. 

Outpatient services: Treatment services that are offered to people in the community, where clients visit a clinic or treatment centre.

Pica: An eating disorder that involves eating items that are not typically thought of as food and that do not contain significant nutritional value (such as hair, dirt, and paint chips).

Purging disorder: An eating disorder that is defined by repeated use of compensatory measures (such as purging or compulsive exercise) without binge eating episodes.

Rehabilitation: Time period where a person is actively recovering from an eating.

Subthreshold binge eating disorder: Low frequency binge eating disorder.

Subthreshold bulimia nervosa: Low frequency bulimia nervosa.

Shape concerns: Being concerned with one’s shape (figure) and placing high levels of importance on one’s shape.

Underweight Weight: that is below a weight considered normal or desirable based on BMI.

Unspecified eating disorder: An eating disorder that is defined by disordered eating behaviours and body image problems, which are not captured by any other eating dis-order.

Weight concerns: Being concerned with one’s weight and placing high levels of importance on one’s weight.