Overview Of Eating And Feeding Disorders

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Feeding and Eating Disorder recently have become a very common phenomena and subject to study. This is related to psychological disorder and emerged from any psychological stress disorder, trauma or any other by born physical health problem that is diagnosed in this paper reviewing different papers and their analyzed outcome. Different authors tried to define and classify eating and feeding disorder, some with clinical diagnose or some studied with behavior, age, health and cultural factors.

“Feeding Disorder: A feeding disorder involves a child’s or an adult’s refusal to eat certain food groups, textures, solids, or liquids for a period of at least one month, which causes them to not gain enough weight or grow naturally. Most frequently seen in children, feeding disorders look like failure to thrive, except there is no medical or physiological condition that can explain the very small amount of food the children consume or their lack of growth”.

“Eating Disorder: Eating disorders are mental disorders defined by abnormal eating habits. These abnormal habits may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and mental health. People with eating disorders can appear underweight, of healthy weight, or overweight.

Symptoms of these disorders are culturally influenced, being found primarily in young Caucasian women; however, eating disorders occur across populations of all genders, races, ages, and socioeconomic status. Furthermore, one person can have multiple types of disorder”. The term eating and feeding disorder itself a broad term to discuss and explore. Therefore, the paper intended present the causes, factors, symptoms, diagnosis necessity and some review of recommendation provided by other researchers.


Eating and feeding disorder can be related to any other disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a predominant and costly psychiatric disorder, is associated with high rates of obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases. There is another link found that physical activity or diet may have beneficial effects on PTSD symptoms. It is important to remember that trauma-related disorders occur on a scale. A variety of disorders in the eating, mood, anxiety, and substance use, dissociative, somatoform, impulse control, disruptive behavior, and personality ranges included in this scale or spectrum. A child has will experience dysfunction in multiple areas of functioning when experienced chronic interpersonal trauma. Somatic, affective, behavioral, dissociative, cognitive, interpersonal, and self-concept included in these areas.

Heidi L Strickler (2013) tried to focus on areas of dysfunction which are common in both eating and post-traumatic disorder. Depending on the core areas, other symptomology and treatment are focused. The eating disorder symptoms are related to injury or overt trauma that is why exploring the relationship between them are important. This study included children and adults as subject where it was found that histories of trauma such as child sexual abuse have relationship with disorder. Study also found that individual can reduce tension through eating disorder. Thus it can also be seen that eating and posttraumatic disorder can have a positive correlation. While there are some common features in both. Mitchell et al. (2012) evidenced eating disorders and posttraumatic stress disorders share definite core features that explain some of their co-prefix. Both the disorders share alexithymia and high rates of separation as part of their symptom profiles. In the development of each type of disorder, genetics and biology play a role in the serotonin, dopamine, and glucocorticoid systems, which may predispose certain individuals and is based on emotion dysregulation. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) a guide for mental disorders that define all kind of disorders and diagnostic criteria as well as classification for eating and feeding disorder that are – Binge Eating Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

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To better represent the symptoms and behaviors of patients dealing with Feeding and Eating Disorder conditions across the lifespan DSM-5 includes several changes. ‘‘Feeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood’’ within the larger category of disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence. They are then classified separately from the eating disorders anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), which have somewhat different presentations in childhood compared to adults, that have been detailed elsewhere.

Bryant-Waugh and Piepenstock (2008) describes again few common troubles in feeding and eating seen in clinical settings include:

  • Delayed or absent development of feeding/ eating skills
  • Difficulty managing or tolerating fluids or foodstuffs
  • Lack of appetite or interest in food
  • Utilizing feeding behaviors to comfort, selfsoothe, or self-stimulate.

Bryant et al. (2010) observed disturbances in feeding and consuming behavior with comparable scientific presentations can also have distinctive etiologies that require distinct interventions. For instance, trouble dealing with food placed within the mouth may be because of: a) Low muscle tone affecting oral-motor abilities; b) Heightened sensitivity to texture related to autism; c) An aversive response following intractable vomiting related to an underlying gastrointestinal situation; d) A traumatic choking incident in the past; or e) Lack of possibility to exercise associated with maternal tension about potential for choking.

The child’s medical history, temperament, development, and revel in may make contributions individually and/or integrate with elements regarding the caregiver(s) and the environment resulting in disturbances of everyday feeding behavior. As a result, widely defined feeding issues are exceptionally common, and may be the result of some of special contributing elements.

Adam and Epel (2007) in their study mentioned the problematic relationships among mental pressure, allostasis, and factors of energy stability — eating, adiposity, and fats distribution. Allostasis inherently includes modifications in strength flow — appetite and ingestion, strength storage and mobilization. There is evidence that stress related chronic stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and resulting extra glucocorticoid exposure may also play a vital role within the development of visceral obesity this is sort of eating & feeding disorder. Pressure as well as palatable food can stimulate endogenous opioid release. In turn, opioid release seems to be a part of an organisms’ effective protection mechanism protecting from the adverse consequences of stress by reducing interest of the HPA axis and therefore attenuating the stress response. Repeated stimulation of the reward pathways through both stress caused HPA stimulation, consumption of quite palatable meals or both, may also result in neurobiological adaptations that promote the compulsive nature of overeating. Whilst these mechanisms are most effective starting to be elucidated in people, it seems the obesity epidemic can be exacerbated through the preponderance of chronic stress, unsuccessful attempts at food restrict, and their independent and probably synergistic consequences on growing the reward cost of quite palatable meals. Dahlgren, Wisting and Rø (2017) were identified Rates of the residual eating disorder category “other specified feeding and eating disorders” had increased, and preliminary evidence supported increased prevalence of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Feeding disorders for example Pica, Rumination Disorder and Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorders, no studies were done before with assessment on this.

Uher and Rutter (2012) reviewed evidence on the developmental and cross-cultural differences and continuities, course and distinctive features of feeding and eating disorders. They proposed the following recommendations: a) According to age group categories feeding and eating disorders should be merged into a single group. b) the grouping of anorexia nervosa should be extended through dipping the requisite for amenorrhoea, outspreading the weight criterion to any significant underweight, and encompassing the cognitive criterion to include developmentally and culturally relevant appearances; c) A seriousness qualifier “with perilously low body weight” ought to recognize the extreme instances of anorexia nervosa that convey the most dangerous guess; d) Bulimia nervosa should be stretched to include independent binge eating; e) As a specific category defined by subjective or objective binge eating in the absence of regular compensatory behavior, Binge eating disorder should be included; f) Sequentially fulfil criteria for both anorexia and bulimia nervosa patients, combined eating disorder should classify subjects for them; g) Restrictive food intake disorder should classify restricted food intake in children or adults that is not accompanied by body weight and shape related psychopathology; h) An unchanging minimum duration condition of four weeks should apply.


Overwhelming evidence indicates that abnormal eating and feeding patterns are not solely due to organic impairment. As such, feeding and eating disorders should be conceptualized on a range between psycho-social and organic factors. An interdisciplinary team of professionals can assess and provide better treatment. At least, the team should include a gastroenterologist, nutritionist, behavioral psychologist, and occupational and/or speech therapist. Intervention should be comprehensive and include the medical condition treatment, as well as behavioral adjustment to alter the inappropriate feeding and eating patterns. A majority of feeding and eating problems can be resolved or greatly improved through a variety of different settings such as community programs, hospitals, day programs, and groups. Some of the treatment methods consist of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), family therapy, nutritional counseling, and medication to treat co-occurring disorders like anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, etc. In the psychological intervention knowledge of human psychology, behavior and different psychological disorder like sleeping, feeding and eating, posttraumatic stress disorder and many other disorders are need to know, there is also a necessity to know the symptoms and their recovery process with medication to make stress and distress free society. The basic knowledge and practice of psychology will strengthen people’s capacity and resilience and thus deliver a healthy & developed nation.

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