What are eating disorders?

October 16, 1997

Anorexia nervosa is self-imposed starvation.

Symptoms include:

- diminished body weight

- intense fear of gaining weight

- feeling fat even when thin

- in women, irregularity of the menstrual cycle

- in men, reduced libido

Bulimia is recurrent episodes of intense eating, including eating large amounts of food in a distinct period, and eating in secret, coupled with a sense of lack of control. It is characterized by binge-eating and purging.


Symptoms include:

- self-induced vomiting

- misuse of laxatives, diuretics and enemas

- fasting

- excessive exercise

Binge eating disorder has the same characteristics as bulimia, except sufferers do not purge.

Symptoms include:

- eating much more rapidly than normal

- eating until feeling uncomfortably full

- eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry

- eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much food one is consuming

- feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed and very guilty after overeating

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