Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that's far below normal for their age and height. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively.
Anorexia nervosa isn't really about food. It's an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems. When you have anorexia nervosa, you often equate thinness with self-worth.
Anorexia nervosa can be difficult to overcome. But with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia's serious complications.
Bulimia nervosa, commonly called bulimia, is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. People with bulimia may secretly binge — eating large amounts of food — and then purge, trying to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. For example, someone with bulimia may force vomiting or do excessive exercise. Sometimes people purge after eating only a small snack or a normal-size meal.
Bulimia can be categorized in two ways:
Purging bulimia. You regularly self-induce vomiting or misuse laxatives, diuretics or enemas after bingeing.
Non-purging bulimia. You use other methods to rid yourself of calories and prevent weight gain, such as fasting, strict dieting or excessive exercise.
However, these behaviours often overlap, and the attempt to rid yourself of extra calories is usually referred to as purging, no matter what the method.
If you have bulimia, you're probably preoccupied with your weight and body shape, and may judge yourself severely and harshly for your self-perceived flaws. Because it's related to self-image — and not just about food — bulimia can be difficult to overcome. But effective treatment can help you feel better about yourself, adopt healthier eating patterns and reverse serious complications.
“Expert” Definitions of Binge or Compulsive Overeating include some or all of the following features which occur with regularity at least 3 times per week:
• Eating faster than usual
• Eating past the point of fullness
• Eating when not physically hungry
• Eating alone or in secret
• Feeling upset or guilty after overeating
• Feeling that you are abnormal
• Feeling “taken over” or “driven” as if by another presence in respect of eating
• Trying to compensate for overeating by dieting or restraining food or purging ( in the latter case you are suffering from bulimia)
Compulsive overeating could be:
• A dieting disorder
• A food addiction
• A bad habit
• A lack of willpower
• Comfort eating – to manage difficult and troublesome feelings
• A stress disorder
• A body image problem
• A sign of a deeper emotional problem
Finding the underlying cause of compulsive overeating is the key to solving the problem. When the root cause is identified and treated, the side effects will dissipate.