Health and Disease

Eating Disorders

By Nitin Beeram

Published 7:30 PM EST, Wed March 31, 2021


Factors such as psychological, behavioral, biological, emotional, and social cause eating disorders. Eating disorders have different symptoms. The most common symptoms are the restriction of food, food binges, and purging behaviors. One research showed that if one twin had an eating disorder, there was a 50% chance that the other twin would get it too. The chance of developing this disorder is more common in adolescents, although it could develop at any age. According to a research study, 13% of youth might face at least one eating disorder by age 20. The six common eating disorders are Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Binge eating disorder, Pica, Rumination Disorder, and Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (AFRID). 

Anorexia Nervosa

 Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder distinguished as unusual low body weight, a mass gain of weight, and warped perception of weight or shape. This type of eating disorder could negatively damage your body. People usually tend to have this eating disorder during their young adulthood. This eating disorder affects women more than men. The general symptoms of anorexia nervosa are the restriction of eating different types of food, heavy influence of body weight, fear of gaining weight, and being underweight compared to other people. Generally, people who have anorexia nervosa constantly think about food, and some may take it further by collecting recipes or even storing food. Anorexia nervosa can damage the body by leading to the thinning of bones, brittle hair, and, in some extreme cases, death

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is another type of eating disorder. This is when people tend to eat large amounts of food in short time periods but later vomit out the food. This type of eating disorder usually develops during people’s early childhood to early adulthood. Common symptoms of bulimia nervosa include fear of gaining weight, being distracted with body weight/shape, and extreme dehydration. People who have bulimia nervosa will binge on food secretly, usually in large amounts, and won’t stop eating until they are painfully full. They cannot really control how much food they eat. After eating, people with bulimia nervosa will try to purge the calories and prevent weight gain through the use of laxatives, self-vomiting, and fasting. Due to the fact that bulimia nervosa is associated with self-image, it is quite difficult for people to overcome this eating disorder. In more extreme cases bulimia nervosa can create a variation of electrolytes which could lead to a stroke or a heart attack. 

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is a type of eating disorder in which you eat too much and can’t control how much you are eating. This is one of the most common eating disorders among people. Generally, people with this eating disorder eat a huge quantity of food in a small amount of time. After binge eating, they feel embarrassed and ashamed because of the amount of food they ate. They don’t use methods such as exercising and or purging to compensate for the binge. Common symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder are consuming large quantities of food quickly, lack of control when binge-eating, and the feeling of guilt. Typically, people with this eating disorder tend to be obese, overweight, or normal weight. Some health problems that binge eating disorder could lead to are heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a stroke. 


Pica is an eating disorder where a person tends to eat things that are not food. A person with this eating disorder might eat items such as ice, dirt, soap, and chalk. This eating disorder can develop when you are young, an adolescent, or in your adulthood. Generally, this disorder is more common in children, pregnant women, and people with mental disabilities. Some possible symptoms of Pica are gut injuries, poisoning, and infections. 

Rumination Disorder

 This is an eating disorder in which a person vomits food that they had previously swallowed and then re-chews it. They will also spit the food out. This usually happens within at least 30 minutes after eating a meal. This is a relatively new eating disorder. People can get rumination disorder during their childhood, infancy, or even in adulthood. Therapy is used when treating this condition. Some symptoms of this eating disorder include weight loss and severe malnutrition in infants if the problem is not settled

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

This is an eating disorder where a person does not have an interest in eating, thus not meeting their minimal daily nutrition intake. People with this eating disorder don’t eat particular types of food related to sensory characteristics such as taste, smell, and color. Gaining weight is not a reason why people restrict how much they eat. People tend to develop this disorder more during infancy or childhood but could also develop in adulthood. Some symptoms of AFRID are the restriction of food, weight loss, and failure to gain weight.  

Nitin Beeram, Youth Medical Journal 2021


Eating disorders—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from

6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms). (2019, October 30). Healthline.


Neuroinfectious Diseases


Neuroinfectious diseases result when the body’s immune system is weak to fight off pathogens or germs. These diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. There are many of these infections that can affect the nervous system. Some of the most common symptoms are pain, swelling, redness, impaired functions, etc. These infections can be usually treated by doctors who are trained in infectious diseases. Some of the common neuroinfectious diseases are Encephalitis, Meningitis, and Transverse myelitis.


Encephalitis is an infection of the brain, which can either be caused by bacteria or virus. The most common cause of encephalitis is by a viral infection. Some of the viruses that cause encephalitis are enteroviruses, tick-borne viruses, herpes simplex virus, etc. The 2 kinds of encephalitis are primary encephalitis and secondary encephalitis. Primary encephalitis is when the virus infects the brain. Secondary encephalitis results from damaged immune system reaction somewhere else in the body, and this causes the immune system to attack healthy cells in the brain. The common symptoms of encephalitis are headache, fever, aches in muscles or joints, and fatigue or weakness. Some more severe symptoms of encephalitis are hallucinations, loss of sensation, seizures, loss of consciousness, and problems with speech or hearing. Factors that might increase the risk of encephalitis include age, weakened immune system, geographical regions, and season of the year. There are some ways you could prevent viral encephalitis. Practicing good hygiene such as washing hands with soap regularly and not sharing food utensils are some ways to prevent encephalitis.  


Meningitis is an infection where the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. Meningitis is commonly caused by viral infection but some other causes include bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections. The common symptoms of meningitis are stiff neck, sensitivity to light, no appetite or thirst, skin rash, and sudden high fever. Treating meningitis depends on what type of meningitis.  Antibiotics that are directly injected to the vein are used to treat bacterial meningitis. Sometimes doctors will suggest a broad-spectrum antibiotic until they know the exact cause of meningitis.

Transverse Myelitis

Transverse myelitis is when both sides of one section of the spinal cord become inflamed. This neuroinfectious disease cuts off the messages the spinal cord sends throughout the body. Some of the causes of transverse myelitis are infections, immune system disorders, and myelin disorders. Some of the common symptoms of transverse myelitis are pain in lower back, abnormal sensations, and weakness in arms or legs. 

Nitin Beeram, Youth Medical Journal 2021


Encephalitis—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from

Meningitis—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from

 Neuroinfectious diseases. (n.d.). American Brain Foundation. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from

Neurological infections. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2020, from

Transverse myelitis—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from