Difference between Eating Disorder and Disordered Eating

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 24, 2012

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When maintaining healthy life functions in concerned, both eating disorders and disordered eating should be treated with the same degree of importance. However, in order to tackle them effectively, one should be able to distinguish one from the other. Although they may both seem similar to each other, there are certain fundamental differences between eating disorder and disordered eating, you must come to understand.


Differences between Eating Disorder and Disordered Eating


  • Eating disorders are chronic and most often even complex illnesses which need concrete treatment and therapies for effective control. Disordered eating on the other hand is not complex enough to be categorised as a grave illness of some sort. So, concrete treatment options have also not been improvised for the same.
  • Some of the prominent forms of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and bulimia. All of them are known to have damaging repercussions on health. Disordered eating might not have specific names as such. Some forms of dieting, or resorting to diet pills and weight loss supplements, can be considered as forms of disordered eating.
  • Whereas eating disorders are most often persistent conditions which might last through the years when left untreated, disordered eating sprees are considered to be rare phenomenon. They might occur as isolated spells. No prevalent trends can be established for the same.
  • Disordered eating is mostly atypical while the same cannot be said about eating disorders.
  • One of the most prominent differences between eating disorder and disordered eating could be that the former is in fact temporary. It may stem from a current life event or crunch situation, such as a competition or an examination of some sort. Prevailing stress might result into disordered eating habits such as starving or binging. Eating disorders on the other hand, are more like a life condition. They comprise of general tendencies which last through years without having anything to do with temporary changes in stress levels.
  • Disordered eating can often develop into an eating disorder. The reverse however, isn’t possible.
  • Eating disorder can often be considered responsible for serious repercussions. Alternatively, disordered eating is considerably less harmful, leading to some nutritional insufficiencies alone.

Differences between eating disorder and disordered eating should be understood with precision for the fear of confusing one for the other.


Read more articles on Eating Disorders



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