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Types of Eating Disorder


Three psychiatric eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are on the increase among teenage girls and young women and often run in families. Anorexia and bulimia affect nearly 10 million women and 1 million men (primarily teens and young adults) in reported cases in the U.S. and can be fatal.

Anorexia nervosa has the highest premature fatality rate of any mental illness.

The average age of sufferers is dropping rapidly (as young as elementary school), with peak onset among girls ages 11-13.

It's estimated that another 25 million people suffer from binge eating disorder.

Below are the different eating disorders that a teenager suffers from:

Bulimia:

Bulimia, also known as bulimia nervosa, is a psychological eating disorder characterized by binge-eating, It is then followed by inappropriate ways of weight reduction like vomiting, fasting, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or compulsive exercising.


Symptoms of bulimia include:


  • Repeated episodes of bingeing on high-caloric food
  • Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
  • Purging after a binge, (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting)
  • Frequent dieting, with binges alternating with severe diets
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape
  • Hiding the signs of throwing up by running water while spending long periods of time in the bathroom
  • Sore throat and painless swelling of the cheeks from vomiting
  • The purging of bulimia presents a serious threat to the patient's physical health, including dehydration, hormonal imbalance, the depletion of important minerals, and damage to vital organs.

Binge Eating Disorder



Binge eating disorder (also known as Compulsive Overeating) is characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full.

Symptoms of binge eating are:
  • Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry
  • Rapid eating
  • Eating until uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten
  • Hiding of food because the person feels embarrassed about how much he or she is eating
  • Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt with overeating.
This disorder is different from bulimia because people with binge eating disorder usually do not purge afterward by vomiting or using laxatives.

While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge.

People who binge disparage their bodies and feel self-conscious about their body size and/or shape. However, not everyone who hasbinge eating disorder is overweight. Although body weight may vary from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity, most people with binge eating disorder are obese (more than 20 percent above a healthy body weight).

Up to half of all people with binge eating disorder have a history of depression. Whether depression is a cause or effect of binge eating disorder is unclear.

Many people report that anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety or other negative emotions can trigger a binge episode.

Impulsive behavior and certain other psychological problems (such as obsessive-compulsive behavior, substance abuse, and personality disorders) may be more common in people with binge eating disorder.

Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet, lack of exercise, and bingeing is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.

Anorexia Nervosa


Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. The diagnosis of anorexia is made when the anorexic either loses fifteen percent (15%) of their weight or when the growing child fails to acquire eighty-five percent (85%) of the minimal weight for their particular age and height.

Symptoms of anorexia include:
  • Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”
  • Feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape
  • Sore throat and painless swelling of the cheeks from vomiting

A teenager with anorexia nervosa is typically a perfectionist and a high achiever in school. At the same time, she suffers from low self-esteem, irrationally believing she is fat regardless of how thin she becomes. Desperately needing a feeling of mastery over her life, the teenager withanorexia nervosa experiences a sense of control only when she says "no" to the normal food demands of her body. In a relentless pursuit to be thin, the girl starves herself. This often reaches the point of serious damage to the body and, in a small number of cases, may lead to death.
  • Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”
  • Feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape
  • Sore throat and painless swelling of the cheeks from vomiting

A teenager with anorexia nervosa is typically a perfectionist and a high achiever in school. At the same time, she suffers from low self-esteem, irrationally believing she is fat regardless of how thin she becomes. Desperately needing a feeling of mastery over her life, the teenager with anorexia nervosa experiences a sense of control only when she says "no" to the normal food demands of her body. In a relentless pursuit to be thin, the girl starves herself. This often reaches the point of serious damage to the body and, in a small number of cases, may lead to death.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food -- more than most people would eat in one meal -- in short periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, or over-exercising.

It is difficult to detect bulimia. Many individuals with the disorder remain at normal body weight or above because of their frequent binges and purges, which can range from once or twice a week to several times a day. Dieting heavily between episodes of binging and purging is also common. Eventually, half of those with anorexia will develop bulimia.

Eating Disorder is a Serious Mental Health Issue

Recognition of eating disorders as real and treatable diseases is critically important. The consequences of eating disorders can be severe. For example, one in ten cases of anorexia nervosa leads to death from starvation, cardiac arrest, kidney failure, other medical complications, or suicide.

Without treatment, up to twenty percent (20%) of people with serious eating disorders die. However, early identification and treatment leads to more favorable outcomes. With treatment, the mortality rate falls to two to three percent (2-3%).



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