About Eating Disorder

About Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is a life-threatening disease in which the affected person intentionally deprives him or herself of food. Anorexics may maintain body weights that are 15 percent or more below their ideal. Even when emaciated, those affected often have so distorted a body image that they continue to perceive themselves as “fat.”

About Bulimia Nervosa

Individuals with bulimia nervosa may be harder to identify. They can appear to be of normal weight, but routinely eat excessive amounts of food over a short period of time and immediately “purge” themselves of the food by vomiting or taking laxatives. They usually become experts at concealing this behavior from others.

Signs of an eating disorder:

  • Excessive weight loss or concern about weight
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, and dieting
  • Dissatisfaction with body
  • Ritualistic or obsessive eating behavior, food rituals
    (i.e. cutting food into extremely small bites, excessive chewing)
  • Bouts of gorging with large quantities of food
  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat” despite weight loss
  • Anxiety about gaining weight or being “fat”
  • Consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food
  • Disappearance of large quantities of food in short periods of time
  • Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom immediately after eating
  • Use of diuretics (pills to promote water loss) or laxatives
  • Refusing to eat in public
  • Excessive exercising, the need to burn off calories taken in
  • Fainting
  • Irregularity or cessation in menstrual periods
  • Low heart rate or blood pressure
  • Low body temperature
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities

Consequences of Eating Disorders

If left untreated, both anorexia and bulimia can have devastating consequences. Anorexics literally starve themselves, often leading to permanent damage to the bones, heart and brain, even death. Between 5 percent and 10 percent of those with anorexia die within 10 years of contracting this disorder.
Individuals with bulimia often suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, heart damage, kidney damage, and injury to the digestive system and teeth. The disorder may also lead to chemical imbalances and dehydration that can result in death.
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