Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

The three main types of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa (Anorexia), Bulimia Nervosa (Bulimia), and Binge Eating Disorder. There is the misconception that a person with an eating disorders makes the concious choice, but it is actually a serious illness that brings about disturbances in a person's eating behavior. It can also occur when a person becomes too focused on food and their weight. If they are not treated, it can lead to fatal medical complications. Eating disorders affect both men and women.

What are the Different Types?


People with anorexia are usually concerned about losing weight or see themselves as overweight. An individual will restrict what they eat or refuse to eat. Anorexia goes beyond eating. People with anorexia sometimes over-excercise in order to get rid of calories. It also has a toll on the body because it lacks the nutrition that it needs. This leads to very serious health problems.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Extreme thinness
  • Restricted eating
  • Focused on losing weight
  • Afraid of gaining weight
  • Bone thinning
  • Yellowish skin
  • Lanugo, growth of fine hair all over the body
  • Damage to functioning of the heart
  • Organ failure
  • Brain damage
  • Bulimia

    An individual with bulimia has episodes where they eat a large amount food. He or she may feel that they have no control over eating when it happens. Afterwards, the person tries to "undo" what they have done through self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, or excessive exercising. This will often become a repeating cycle for the person causing them health problems.

    Signs and Symptoms

  • Sore throat
  • Decaying teeth because of constant exposure to stomach acid
  • Acid reflux disorder
  • Irritation in intestines from overuse of laxatives
  • Dehydration
  • Imbalance of electrolytes which can lead to a stroke or heart attack
  • Binge Eating Disorder

    A person with binge eating disorder is similar to bulimia in that an individual will have times where there consume large amounts of food. However, they do not do anything to prevent gaining weight. People describing eating a large amount of food even when they are not hungry and even to the point of discomfort. The person may also have feeling of shame or guilt because of their actions.

    Signs and Symptoms

  • Eating a large amount of food in a short period of time
  • Eating when a person is not hungry
  • Eating alone to avoid feeling ashamed
  • Feeling embarrassed about eating
  • In a binge episode, eating very fast
  • How Can it be Treated?

    The treatments vary based on the type of disorder but they usally include therapy and nutritional counseling. The treatments emphasize getting sufficient nutrition and if necessary reducing the excessive excercise and stopping the purging behaviors. The therapy is used to talk the individual throught the process. Perhaps the most important treatment is the nutritional counseling so that the person is aware of how to eat healthy and restore the person's weight. It is very important to seek professional help.

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