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Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

People who have anorexia nervosa are obsessed with controlling their eating. The reason for their obsession is the belief that by controlling their bodies they can control their lives. This obsession is usually achieved through starvation.
Anorexia Nervosa most commonly begins during puberty and can be recognized by the following symptoms:

Excerpts from National Eating Disorders Information Centre


Bulimia nervosa is characterized by cycles of bingeing and purging. As with anorexia, this behaviour is driven by a desire to regulate feelings, with worries about body weight and shape. The cycle begins with the person rapidly eating large amounts of food in a single sitting. The eating feels automatic and helpless. Initially this may numb uncomfortable feelings, like anger or sadness, but it also creates physical discomfort and anxiety about weight gain. As a consequence, the person tries to rid the body of the food by vomiting, using laxatives, enemas or diuretics, exercising excessively, skipping meals or dieting.These purging behaviours don’t achieve the desired goals – to feel more physically comfortable and not gain weight. Instead, they are very harmful to health.

Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:

People with bulimia may well have a weight that is regarded as “normal”. People may also develop a Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

Individuals with binge eating disorders eat excessive amounts of food at one time. They do this for two reasons:

People who binge-eat are often ashamed and embarrassed. They also tend to be genetically heavier and larger than the “average” person. They do not, however, generally try to compensate for their over-eating by vomiting, fasting, over-exercising or abusing laxatives as people with anorexia or bulimia may do.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

Excerpts from National Eating Disorders Information Centre

Other Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS)

Some people experience a mix of symptoms. A woman might display all the symptoms of anorexia, but might still menstruate. A man might appear to have anorexia, but not have the abnormally low sex hormones usually associated with it. Others might lose weight but remain within their normal weight range. On the other hand, some people might have all the symptoms of bulimia but won’t binge and/or purge.

People with ED-NOS might:

Excerpts from National Eating Disorders Information Centre

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