Other eating disorders

Other disorders

Other disorders

Compulsive overeating

This disorder differs from binge eating. Compulsive overeating consists of snacking throughout the day or constantly eating a little too much for reasons other than physiological hunger. Some call it “emotional eating”. Eating becomes a source of comfort, relaxation or pleasure, or is used to counter a sense of boredom or loneliness. These people are usually overweight and are ashamed of their body mass. The quest for thinness is associated, among others, with the pursuit of happiness.

Night eating syndrome

This behaviour is characterized by recurrent binge eating that occurs during the night. No food or very little food is consumed during the day. At least 25% of daily energy needs are consumed after supper and during the night. These habits lead to insomnia, which is why this condition is often associated with a deterioration of a person’s mood (especially in the evening) along with anxiety. To date, genetic and hormonal causes are believed to be behind this condition.


Orthorexia consists of an obsessive concern for healthy eating. It can often lead people to calculate everything and stop eating spontaneously. Healthy eating then becomes a constraint. These people allow themselves no flexibility whatsoever when it comes to the types of food they eat, and they live with constant anxiety.

Self-induced vomiting (rumination disorder)

This eating disorder is characterized by the voluntary and repeated regurgitation of food. The food swallowed and partially digested is deliberately returned to the mouth. The food is then re-chewed before being spat out or swallowed again.

Compulsive exercising

This condition is characterized by frequent and excessive physical activity. These persons train intensively beyond what is necessary for their health or in order to perform competitively. People suffering from an eating disorder frequently use compulsive exercising as a compensatory activity after eating. This behaviour is used to lose weight, or eliminate calories ingested in order to avoid gaining weight and decrease the feeling of guilt or anxiety associated with the act of eating.

Muscle dysmorphia (bigorexia)

This is an obsessive compulsive disorder that falls under a sub-category of Body Dysmorphic Disorders or BDD (obsessive fear of being malformed or ugly). In this case, however, the obsession is focused specifically on muscle mass. It occurs almost exclusively in men. Since they have the impression of sometimes being too thin or lacking in muscles (obsession), they are pushed to practice sports excessively (compulsion) in order to develop a disproportionate muscle mass, even if their body already has a normal or very muscular appearance.

To consult all DSM-5 definitions of eating disorders, visit their website at www.dsm5.org

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