Eating Disorder vs Disordered Eating

I wanted to see if someone can help explain the differences between being diagnosed with an eating disorder vs being diagnosed with Disordered Eating? Thanks

From what I understand, Disordered Eating is a diagnosis itself. It refers to someone whose eating behaviors do not meet the DSM criteria of anorexia or bulimia (they might have some, but not all of the criteria) but have patterns of problem eating. They may also be diagnosed with EDNOS, or their eating issues may have resulted from another condition, such as depression, and may not be considered a specific eating disorder. At any rate, Disordered Eating can be just as dangerous, and someone diagnosed with it should still seek help.

I hope this covered your question.


Many times an eating disorder can begin with disordered eating. I know it was that way for me... It didn't cross over into a full-blown eating disorder until it became something I couldn't stop, no matter how much it hurt me or interfered with my life.

Are you wondering if you are experiencing disordered eating or an eating disorder?


Hey! There is not an official such as 'disordered eating'. It'a a phrase that is used at times, but it's not a diagnosis. Many people have eating habits that may appear to be 'disordered', but they never develop an eating disorder. Others, if they engage in strange or disordered eating habits, may become very ill with an eating disorder. Disordered eating is not a good thing in either case, but this is not an eating disorder diagnosis.
I too wonder if you are thinking you may have an eating disorder? The factor that makes the difference has to do with the psychological component.
Perhaps having an assessment would help you better understand what is going on for you.
Please continue to share....Jan ♥

Even if it may not be a formal diagnoses in the DSM, it is a separate term used by medical professionals to talk about eating patterns that irregular or harmful. You are right though, it can lead to a full fledged eating disorder, but a lot of people use it to describe the behaviors of people with eating disorders or apply it to people with EDNOS.

EDNOS is a full-fledged eating disorder. It's a diagnosis that is made for those that do not fit the DSM criteria for either anorexia or bulimia. BED is currently under the EDNOS diagnosis as well. People with eating disorders ALL have disordered eating. But people with disordered eating do not necessarily have eating disorders. It's like in geometry: all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. :) It's a term used by professionals, but disordered eating is not a specific diagnosis.


Well put Jen...simply semantics in this regard....Jan ♥