Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, & Binge Eating

eating disordersA group of serious conditions, eating disorders preoccupy your mind with food and weight so that you are often unable to focus on anything else.[1] The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.1 While many more females than males suffer with anorexia and bulimia, both men and women equally suffer binge-eating disorder.1 However, all of these disorders can cause serious physical problems, and at their most severe, can be life-threatening.1

Anorexia Nervosa

With anorexia nervosa, a person is obsessed with food and cutting calories.1 They strive to be thin, and always believe they have not reached their goal.1 Sometimes, they do not eat to the point of deadly self-starvation.1 A negative or distorted self-image causes the person to refuse to eat and deny their hunger.1 They exercise too much and are often irritable.1 They appear very thin, and the lack of nutrients leads to trouble sleeping, thin hair, and menstrual irregularities in women.1 They begin to develop irregular heart rhythms, low blood pressure, and are often dehydrated.1

Other symptoms include:1

  • An intense fear of gaining weight
  • Flat mood or lack of emotion
  • Fear of eating in public
  • Social withdrawal
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Frequently being cold

Bulimia Nervosa

With bulimia nervosa, a person has episodes of bingeing and purging.1 They typically eat large amounts of food in a short period of time and then try to rid themselves of the extra calories through vomiting or excessive exercise.1 They may appear to have a normal weight or even be a bit overweight.1 Many will use laxatives, have abnormal bowel functioning, and have damaged teeth, swollen salivary glands, and sores in the mouth and throat from excessive vomiting.1 They are drawn to high-fat or sweet foods.1

Other symptoms include:1

  • Low self-esteem
  • Unhealthy focus on body shape and weight
  • Going to the bathroom after or during meals
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Constant dieting
  • Possible drug or alcohol abuse

Binge-Eating Disorder

With binge-eating disorder, a person will regularly eat excessive amounts of food, but they do not try to compensate for the calories with exercise or purging.1 They may eat when they are not hungry and continue to eat long after they are uncomfortably full.1 After they have binged, they feel guilty or ashamed, which can bring on another round of binging.1 They may be a normal weight, overweight, or obese.1 They often eat alone and eat faster than normal.1

Overall, eating disorders can take over a person’s life and are often hard to overcome alone.1 Many resist treatment, believing they do not need help—they feel like they are fully in control at times.1

However, skipping meals, making excuses for not eating, eating only “safe” foods, adopting rigid meal and eating rituals, persistent worrying about being fat, frequently checking the mirror for perceived flaws, and using supplements for weight loss are all signs of a possible disorder.1

[1] Eating Disorders. (2012, February 8). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 15, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eating-disorders/DS00294


  • Alyce

    January 12, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Can I get more information somewhere?

    • Meghan LaCasse

      January 13, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Hi Alyce,

      For more information and any questions, give us a call at 561-288-6693. We would be happy to answer any and all of your questions.

      Wellington Retreat

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