Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge CenterThe Other Eating Disorders

The "Other" Eating Disorders

Learn more about anorexia, bulimia, and other disorders.

Most of us have heard of the more common eating disorders. These include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. You've probably heard about the health problems they can cause. But you may not have heard about the less common eating disorders. These can be just as harmful as the more well-known disorders.

Who suffers from these eating disorders?

Many people who develop unhealthy eating habits fall through the cracks. They find ways to lose weight without having an "official" eating disorder. Their loved ones may notice their behaviors and weight loss. But without a diagnosis, their problems might not be taken seriously. Yet their health is in danger.

What are the less common disorders?

Some unhealthy eating behaviors include:

  • Severely limiting the amount or type of food that is eaten
  • Bingeing and purging on a regular basis
  • Chewing and spitting out food without swallowing

Some of the more uncommon eating disorders include:

Chewing and spitting: People who chew and spit put food into their mouth, chew it, and spit it out without swallowing. They get to taste food without the calories – or the nutrition. This behavior is often found in people with anorexia. It can cause malnutrition and tooth decay. It also wastes the money spent on food.

Compulsive exercising (anorexia athletica): People with anorexia athletica exercise excessively. They exercise only to lose weight. Exercise is unhealthy when it interferes with daily activities. And it's unhealthy when missing exercise causes anxiety. These people are rarely satisfied with their achievements. They're constantly moving onto their next big physical challenge.

Orthorexia nervosa: People with orthorexia nervosa prefer to only eat certain foods. They often prefer natural, pure, or organic foods. And they may feel superior to people who eat non-organic or junk foods. These people go beyond normal, healthy eating. Their diets wind up lacking important nutrients necessary for good health.

Rumination syndrome: People with rumination syndrome chew and swallow their food. Then they regurgitate it back into the mouth, and chew and swallow again. This makes them feel like they're eating more food than they actually are.

Use of diuretics or laxatives: Some people use diuretics or laxatives to help them lose weight. Diuretics increase urination. Laxatives increase the frequency of bowel movements. Sometimes diuretics and laxatives are medically necessary. But using them to lose weight is dangerous.

These behaviors and disorders aren't as common as the more well-known disorders. But they're more common than you may think. They often exist alongside the more typical eating disorders. And they can cause malnutrition, along with more serious health problems. Malnutrition can cause permanent damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, bones, and teeth. Some of this damage can even result in death.

If you or someone you know has unhealthy eating habits, get help. Talk to your health care provider or mental health professional. Find out what you can do to get back on track to eating healthy–the right way.

Therapy Eating Disorders

Related

LGBTQ+ Health Disparities Treatment for Eating Disorders Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Back to Knowledge Center

Source:

Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED). Less-well-known eating disorders and related problems.

This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details