An eating disorder is a serious and sometimes deadly mental health condition. It happens when a person develops problems with eating behaviors and with their thoughts and feelings related to food. Eating disorders can happen among people of any age, but these disorders can happen most among people between the ages of 12 to 25 years-old.
Some of the most common eating disorders include:
People with Anorexia Nervosa either avoid food, restrict their food intake, or eat very small amounts of only certain types of foods. They can become severely underweight, but see themselves as overweight. Anorexia has two subtypes: Restricting type and Binge-eating/purging type. The restricting type will diet, fast, or exercise excessively in order to lose weight. The binge-eating/purging type will eat large quantities of food (i.e., binge eating) and will vomit or use medications like laxatives to eliminate the food they consumed in order to lose weight.
Bulimia Nervosa is a disorder whereby the person eats large amounts of food within a short period of time and feel they can’t control their eating. They also prevent weight gain by making themselves vomit, using medications like laxatives, fasting, or exercising excessively. People with this disorder are very focused on their body shape and weight.
The main differences between Anorexia and Bulimia include:
In Binge-Eating Disorder, people eat large quantities of food, even when they don’t feel hungry, and feel they can’t control their eating. They consume food quickly during binging episodes and will often become very full and uncomfortable. People with this disorder tend to eat alone because they feel embarrassed about how much they eat and they might feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after binging. Unlike Anorexia and Bulimia, people with Binge-Eating Disorder don’t engage in other eating disorder behaviors, like restriction, purging, fasting, or excessive exercise.