‘New’ and unknown eating disorders

People with eating disorders are obsessed with food, their weight and appearance. They have a distorted image of their body and ignore the signals their body gives them (hunger, pain, satiety). The three best-known eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. But there are more eating disorders and, under the influence of the media, more and more terms are emerging for variants of the eating disorder and for disorders related to eating disorders.

Anorexia athletica

An officially not (yet) recognized form of anorexia. Patients are not obsessed with food as much as they are with exercise. They lose weight by exercising and exercising excessively and eating normally. Anorexia athletica is common among top athletes.

Bigorexia or muscle dysmorphia

A disorder in which the patient has a distorted image of his body. Just as someone with anorexia (wrongly) thinks he or she is too fat, someone with bigorexia thinks he (or sometimes she) has too little muscle. They spend hours in the gym, use steroids and follow a one-sided diet just to grow more muscle tissue and gain width.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a disorder in body perception (imagined ugliness). Patients are obsessed with an alleged deformity of the body or extremely concerned about a slight physical abnormality. This preoccupation is such that it disrupts the patient’s daily life.


Diabulimia is the skipping of insulin injections by diabetes type I patients with the aim of losing weight. Sugars are excreted for the body to convert into fats. Especially common in teenage girls. Diabulimia is very dangerous, skipping insulin injections by Diabetes patients can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness.


Eating little or no food in order to spend the ‘saved’ calories on alcohol.
Want to know more about drunkorexia? Read the next article: Drunkorexia: alcohol instead of food


When people think of anorexia, they often think of girls and young women. Yet an estimated 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder is male. In recent years, the number of male Anorexia patients has increased. This is probably due to the beauty ideal that has increasingly placed its claim on men in recent years. In the fashion world people prefer male models to be as skinny as possible, because the skinnier, the more boyish. Because anorexia is so strongly associated with women and girls, the English-language media has coined the term manorexia to give the growing problem among men its own stamp.

Night Eating Syndrome (NES)

We speak of the Night Eating Syndrome when someone consumes more than 50% of their daily calorie consumption after the evening meal. People wake up one or more times a night and then consume carbohydrate-rich snacks. The syndrome is further characterized by a lack of appetite in the morning and insomnia.

Nocturnal Sleep-related Eating Disorder (NS-RED)

People suffering from NS-RED overeat at night while sleepwalking. Like sleepwalkers, they are not aware of their behavior and have little or no memory of what happened the next day. NS-RED is rare but is a dangerous condition. For example, consider the following risks: weight gain and/or obesity with all the associated health consequences, choking while eating, extreme fatigue during the day, hurting yourself with knives or other cooking utensils, burning yourself and finally the risk of arson.


Orthorexia refers to the obsession with healthy and responsible nutrition. Patients are giving up more and more foods because this leads to a very one-sided diet and too much weight loss. The disorder is not yet officially known, but a lot is already written about it in medical journals. Orthorexia is a rapidly growing eating problem.


Literal translation: permanent anorexia. People with permarexia are constantly on a diet and therefore obsessive about their eating behavior. However, unlike anorexia patients, they do not have a distorted self-image. Their goal is to maintain their ideal weight at all costs, not as with anorexia to become thinner and thinner. Permarexia is also called Victoria Beckham syndrome.


Patients with pica eat substances and objects not intended for consumption. Think of mud, paint, clay, paper. Pica mainly occurs in children and pregnant women. Pica is only spoken of in children when they are old enough to distinguish between edible and non-edible objects.

Prader Willi

Prader Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder in which a disturbance in the eating pattern is only one of the characteristics. Patients are often overweight because they have an indomitable appetite. Other characteristics include: muscle weakness, delayed mental development and small genitals.


Pregorexia is not an official medical term. It is used in the media for women who try to remain as thin as possible during pregnancy and who immediately start exercising and dieting fanatically after pregnancy in order to regain their pre-pregnancy figure as quickly as possible.

Ruminato or rumination disorder

Continuous rumination of food (for more than a month) after a belch, which is sometimes involuntary and sometimes induced. Occurs in small children who often grow out of it, but can also be a symptom of another eating disorder.


A condition that has nothing to do with food, but with a distorted self-image and addiction. People who suffer from tanorexia are addicted to their tanned complexion and sunbathe compulsively to maintain it. The biggest risk of tanorexia is skin cancer.

Want to know more about tanorexia? Read the next article: Tanorexia: fad or serious problem?


People suffering from vitarexia have a deficiency of vitamins and minerals in their daily diet. Vitarexia occurs unnoticed and has to do with the hectic Western existence: people opt for a quick meal instead of a nutritious one.


Term for people who claim that they have anorexia or that they wish they had it. Unlike anorexia patients, this group of people enjoys their weight loss. They are often inspired by so-called pro-anas. Pro-anas views anorexia as a lifestyle and not a disease and even promotes the condition.

It has become quite an overview. Nevertheless, claim not to be complete. Developments do not stand still and the media is creative in coming up with new terms…