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Eating Disorders

Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.


Resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height.
Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat,” even though underweight.
Disturbance in the experience of body weight or shape, undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight.
Loss of menstrual periods in girls and women post-puberty.

Anorexia nervosa involves self-starvation.; The body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally, so it is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy. This “slowing down” can have serious medical consequences.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.


Regular intake of large amounts of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control over eating behavior.
Regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting, and/or obsessive or compulsive exercise.
Extreme concern with body weight and shape.

Bulimia nervosa can be extremely harmful to the body.  The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles can damage the entire digestive system and purging behaviors can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified and is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.


Frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food in short periods of time.
Feeling out of control over eating behavior during the episode.
Feeling depressed, guilty, or disgusted by the behavior.
There are also several behavioral indicators of BED including eating when not hungry, eating alone because of embarrassment over quantities consumed, eating until uncomfortably full.

The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity.  Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

High blood pressure
High cholesterol levels
Heart disease
Diabetes mellitus
Gallbladder disease
Musculoskeletal problems