What is a TCA? Learn More About It

Eating Behavior Disorders (Eating Disorders) are psychological disorders that are often present in people with excessive concern about their weight and physical image .

Body dissatisfaction is one of the most frequent manifestations of these disorders and the one that leads these people to alter their eating habits , in such a way that they can lead to a serious health problem and, in very extreme cases and with several cycles of evolution (even years), even leading to death.

Beauty fees imposed by society, need to feel accepted, professional successes, feelings of guilt … Usually, behind an eating disorder, there is not a single reason hidden, but it is usually caused by different factors . Some of the most common are: psychological, sociocultural, family and personal.

As a general rule, adolescent girls and young women are the profiles most vulnerable to developing an eating disorder. However, it is increasingly common for cases to be detected among men and older people.


Although anorexia and bulimia nervosa are the best known types of eating disorders or, at least, the most frequent, this does not mean that they are the only ones.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-5) prepared by the American Psychiatric Association, eating disorders can be classified as follows:

  • Anorexia nervosa: reduction or restriction of food intake leading to very significant weight loss.
  • Bulimia nervosa: recurrent binges on food and inappropriate compensatory behaviors (vomiting, use of laxatives, fasting, a lot of exercise, etc.).
  • Binge eating disorder: frequent episodes of binge eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, the person who suffers from it does not perform compensatory behaviors and this leads to weight gain.
  • Unspecified Eating Disorder (NERD): variant of anorexia or bulimia nervosa. The person has only some of the symptoms of these 2 diseases, not the whole picture.
  • Pica: intake of substances that have no nutritional value (earth, chalk, plaster, paper …).
  • Rumination disorder: repeated regurgitation of food. These go from the stomach to the mouth and, once there, are chewed again.
  • Food avoidance or restriction disorder (ARFID): lack of interest in eating and active avoidance of food.
  • Vigorexia (or Adonis Complex): obsession with having a muscular body through excessive sports practice and a radical change in diet (diet low in fat and high in protein and carbohydrates, calculation of the amount of food in grams, consumption of protein and anabolic supplements, etc.).
  • Orthorexia: obsession with eating only healthy foods.
  • Obesity: excess fat in the body.
  • Diabulimia: omission or reduction of the insulin dose necessary to maintain an adequate glycemic value for the purpose of losing weight. This eating disorder occurs among insulin-dependent people.
  • Food addiction: intense desire or obsession towards certain foods.


Eating disorder treatments are often characterized as complex diseases. In the first place, because the person who suffers from them is not always aware that they have a problem , much less that they need help, treatment and the benefits that the latter will bring to their physical and mental health.

Another reason for their complexity is that they are long-term disorders , whose treatment can last between 1 year (cases with a good recovery prognosis) and 5 years (cases with numerous relapses that require hospitalization and that tend to become chronic) , so the treatments can be outpatient or hospital as indicated. TCAs are not exactly something that is solved overnight, they take time. This can be lower or higher, depending on the severity.

And lastly, because, in addition to the help of family and friends , it is important that these people place themselves in the hands of a professional and multidisciplinary healthcare team , made up of doctors, nurses and psychologists specializing in eating disorders.

In order to practice this last profession, at the European University we have the University Master’s Degree in Eating Disorders and Obesity . It is the only official title in Spain in which you can train in the diagnosis, treatment and investigation of this type of disease. In addition, you will have the opportunity to carry out your internship with real patients in reference centers in the TCA intervention.