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Eating disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia

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Updated: Friday, Aug 19,2011, 5:38:56 PM
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Eating disorders

Eating disorders are very common all over the world these days. About one or two of every 100 college students is struggling with some type of eating disorder. The most general types of eating disorder include bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. However, other eating disorders, such as body image disorders, binge eating disorders, and food phobias, are becoming more frequent.

Anorexia

People suffering from anorexia have an acute fear of putting on weight and a hazy view of their body shape and size. Consequently, they cannot hold on to a normal body weight. People struggling with anorexia will often confine their food consumption by fasting, dieting, or excessive exercise. They barely eat at all and the little amount of food they eat becomes a mania.

Some people that undergo anorexia do something called purging or binge eating which means eating a lot of food and then try to chuck out the calories by using laxatives, forcefully vomiting, or exercising excessively.

Bulimia

Bulimia is very similar to anorexia. In bulimia, a person eats a lot of food and then compensates for it in very intense ways, such as unnatural vomiting or extreme exercise in order to avoid weight gain. These steps could be dangerous in the course of time.

To be bulimic, a person has to be purging and binging regularly, no less than twice a week for a couple of months. Binge eating is different from going to a party and "pigging out" on pizza, then deciding to go to the gym the next day and eat healthy from now on. People with bulimia eat a large amount of food (often junk food) at once, usually in secret. The person typically feels powerless to stop the eating and can only stop once he or she is too full to eat any more. Most people with bulimia then purge by vomiting, but may also use laxatives or excessive exercise.

Although anorexia and bulimia are very similar, people with anorexia are usually very thin and underweight but those with bulimia may be a normal weight or even overweight.
Binge Eating Disorder

This eating disorder is similar to anorexia and bulimia because a person binges regularly on food (more than three times a week). But, unlike the other eating disorders, a person with binge eating disorder does not try to "compensate" by purging the food.

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder all involve unhealthy eating patterns that begin gradually and build to the point where a person feels unable to control them.

The inner voices of anorexia and bulimia whisper that you’ll never be happy until you lose weight, that your worth is measured by how you look. But the truth is that happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are–and that’s only possible with recovery.

It may seem like there’s no escape from your eating disorder, but recovery is within your reach. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, you can overcome your eating disorder and gain true self-confidence.

Eating disorder recovery

The road to eating disorder recovery starts with admitting you have a problem. This admission can be tough, especially if you’re still clinging to the belief–even in the back of your mind–that weight loss is the key to happiness, confidence, and success. Even when you finally understand that thinness isn’t the "Holy Grail" you thought it was, old habits are hard to break.

The good news is that the eating disorder behaviors you’ve learned can be unlearned. That doesn’t mean the process is smooth, quick, or easy, but you can do it if you’re motivated to change and willing to ask for help. Eating disorder recovery is about more than giving up unhealthy eating behaviors. Overcoming an eating disorder is also about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image.

Tags: Bulimia Eating-disorders Anorexia

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