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We are beginning to learn that an increasing amount of people in our country are scarily being lead towards eating disorders, but what exactly are these disorders? And how would we know if our mates or we ourselves were suffering from any of them? Here’s an easy break down of the most common types of eating disorders.


Anorexia Nervosa:

The name literally means "nervous loss of appetite". People who intentionally starve themselves for fear of becoming fat suffer from this eating disorder. Sufferers fear that their appetites, if given into, will become out of control, that a normal meal will not satisfy them and they will be unable to stop eating. One of the most frightening aspects of this disorder is that typical sufferers are 15% or more below their normal body weight but are still convinced that they are overweight.


There are many symptoms, which would suggest that a person is suffering from an eating disorder. A constant avoidance of eating would suggest to a friend or relative that the person is suffering from Anorexia. Other symptoms for the sufferer would be an intense fear of gaining weight and becoming fat which could turn into an overwhelming fear of food and its calorie contents. People, who suffer from the disorder, will generally feel insecure, dissatisfied with themselves and develop an obsession with thinness and obsessive exercising. Most people will change from happy individuals to being irritable and depressed. It is very difficult for the sufferer to realise the seriousness of what they are doing. They will often deny any indications that they could be anorexic, fooling their friends and relatives that they lead completely healthy lives.

Bulimia Nervosa:

People with bulimia consume large amounts of food, known as binge eating, and then rid themselves from the access calories by purging – i.e. Vomiting, taking laxatives. Or by exercising obsessively. Like Anorexia, the person fears fatness. However, instead of having a fear of food making you fat so you don’t want to eat, bulimia allows the person to believe that they have lost control of eating when they are actually eating, hence "binge" eating. Then from fear of becoming fat all food is rid from their bodies. Unlike an anorexic sufferer, a bulimic sufferer is not drastically underweight. They usually maintain a normal body weight and appear to be fit and healthy. However, inside their body would be extremely unhealthy and medically ill. The individual would also feel very distressed, guilty and isolated.


The symptoms for this disorder are a lot harder to detect than the symptoms for Anorexia. This is because to other people the person who is suffering from Bulimia would appear to be eating normally. However, when they get rid of the food from their body they will do this privately without anyone knowing. Many sufferers will go to any lengths to hide their secret from family and friends. Bulimia is usually characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating, followed by purging, dieting heavily in between episodes of bingeing and purging is also common. A person’s self-image plays a big factor with the disorder, with a great deal of attention focused on how their body looks. There are two different groups that bulimia and its sufferers could be split into.

  • Purging Type – After binge eating the person regularly engages in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives.
  • Non-Purging Type – This can often be confused as anorexia, as the person in between secret binge eating will fast, go on strict diets or do excessive exercise. To a friend or relative, they wouldn't know about the secret bingeing, therefore feel that they were suffering from anorexia.

Typical Sufferers of Eating Disorders

People who suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia are often perfectionists, with unrealistically high expectations. They frequently lack self-esteem and will often have a strong need for other people’s approval in order to make themselves feel valued as person.

Physical Effects of Eating Disorders

Anorexia and Bulimia are serious disorders with one in ten cases leading to death. It can also lead to suicide because of how lonely and depressed a sufferer can feel.

Other physical effects are:

  • Loss of menstruation for females
  • Breathing discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Low blood sugar
  • Rotting teeth with Bulimia (acid from vomiting makes your teeth rot…yuck!)
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of protein, leading to loss of hair and teeth.
  • Intestinal infections
  • Ruptured stomach and oesophagus with Bulimia (constant strain on stomach and throat from vomiting)
  • Kidney damage
  • Severe dehydration
  • Bleeding and infection of the throat
  • Gastritis
  • Ulcers
  • Abnormal metabolism
  • Bowel tumours
  • Ruptured facial blood vessels

Phew! And that’s only just some of the effects from eating disorders. Doesn’t sound too nice, does it? You can see how unhealthy eating disorders really are by all of the effects that can happen to you if you are not eating properly.

So you now know what the most common eating disorders are and what the symptoms are. But what should you do if you think a friend, relative or even yourself maybe suffering from one. Read on and find out What To Do To Get Help.

Click here to Read:

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Go to our links page and look at other fascinating sites about the wonderful world of food.

Food Links and Contacts

- Vick

©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick

©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick

©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick