The two most well-known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa but there are other types. The most common ones are:
People with anorexia believe themselves to be larger than they really are. They try to keep their weight very low, often by deliberately not eating or by doing too much exercise. They will often feel worried about eating too much or about their size and may feel a 'high' when they skip a meal or exercise. Because they want to keep losing weight, people with anorexia will often try to hide it from their family and friends.
Anorexia comes with many health risks and can be life-threatening. By starving your body you can become deficient in vital vitamins and minerals, your reproductive organs may stop working properly, and your heart can develop serious problems.
The NHS website provides more information on anorexia nervosa.
Bulimia is different from anorexia in the way that people who suffer from it act towards food. People with bulimia will restrict their intake of food, but then later binge-eat large amounts. This binging will often feel like they've lost control.
After binging someone with bulimia will often feel guilty and ashamed and try to undo what they have eaten by purging. This usually involves either making themself sick or taking laxatives. Because of the feelings of guilt and shame, people with bulimia will usually hide their problem from friends and family.
People with bulimia are at risk of longer term health problems including dental problems (excessive vomiting can damage your teeth), digestive problems (such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and reproductive problems.
The NHS website provides more information on bulimia.
Binge eating is similar to bulimia because people will binge-eat large amounts to the point where they feel uncomfortably full. However binge-eaters won't try to purge afterwards, although they may limit their food intake after a binge. People who binge-eat often struggle with emotional issues which lead them to eat when they are feeling stressed, low or worried. They will often eat in secret because they feel ashamed of their eating habits.
The NHS website provides more information on binge eating.
Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)
EDNOS is diagnosed when there is an unhealthy pattern of thoughts and behaviours towards food but the specific criteria needed for a diagnosis of bulimia or anorexia are not quite met.