Home > Physical Health > Anorexia and Bulimia

Anorexia and Bulimia

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 16 Feb 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Eating Disorders anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (anorexia) and bulimia nervosa (bulimia) are perhaps the two most well known eating disorders today. Anorexics are known for their failure to eat, while bulimics display tendencies to overeat and then purge. While these actions are almost directly opposite, the similarity of these disorders is that they blossom from an inability to separate emotions from actions. Instead, anorexics and bulimics allow their emotions to control their eating to such a degree that they only feel comfortable when following their own food "rules." Unfortunately this comfort is extremely detrimental to their health, so anyone suffering from anorexia or bulimia must confront their disorder and seek help immediately.

Anorexia

Anorexia is an eating disorder in which sufferers becomes so afraid of gaining weight that they start to decrease the amount of food they will eat until they literally starve. Though most anorexics are female, there are males suffering from this disorder as well, and even when they are physically wasting away anorexics will perceive themselves as heavy and continue eating as little as possible. Without enough nourishment to sustain them, an anorexic's internal organs will begin to fail. Death can be, and sometimes is, the end result of anorexia.

Bulimia

Bulimia is an eating disorder in which sufferers often consume far too much food in one sitting and then get rid of it either by vomiting or taking laxatives. This binging and purging becomes a cycle, though bulimics may never experience weight fluctuations obvious enough to make their disorders known. This constant binging and purging can damage the digestive tract, mouth, teeth and salivary glands, and may mean that the bulimic's diet rarely takes in enough vitamins and minerals to remain healthy.

Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder

Most anorexics and bulimics are highly secretive about their eating disorders and will deny their behaviour if confronted. However, if you suspect a friend of loved one of disordered eating, it is best to gather "evidence" by observing:

  • If they gain or lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
  • If they talk about food or weight often and/or negatively.
  • If they know the calorie content of most foods.
  • If they refuse to eat when others are around.
  • If they have food rituals or routines when they eat with others.
  • If they purchase excessive amounts of food, particularly when emotional.
  • If you find an excessive amount of food packing in the rubbish bin.
  • If they disappear to the toilet during or after meals.
  • If they wear baggy, unflattering clothing.
  • If their hair and nails become weak and/or split.
  • If they feel faint or dizzy, particularly after being active.
  • If they stick to a rigid, and often excessive, exercise schedule.
  • If they feel cold often, particularly in their hands and feet.
  • If their body produces a layer of fine, thin hair.
  • If they experience trouble sleeping.
  • If they often seem depressed, moody or lonely.

Confronting Anorexia and Bulimia

Those who suffer from eating disorders rarely want to discuss, much less admit to, their unhealthy habits. Though it will be frustrating, remember that confronting an anorexic or bulimic is the necessary first step to getting help. When you confront someone suffering from an eating disorder:

  • Know your facts. Research the suspected disorder thoroughly.
  • Be gentle, kind and patient.
  • Use your evidence and observations to back up your claims.
  • Remain calm at all times. Never shout or accuse.
  • Have a plan and suggest what you think should happen next.
  • Persuade them that professional counselling and medical care is necessary.
Anorexia and bulimia are serious eating disorders that can have lifelong consequences. If you someone you know suffers from a suspected eating disorder, do not hesitate to seek help. It may be unpleasant to confront an eating disorder, but what could happen if you don't would be even worse.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I am very worried about my son who has anorexia. Since leaving hospital his condition is worse. He still will not admit he has a problem.
les - 15-Mar-11 @ 11:14 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • JoB
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    @Leanne 75 - the objective is to get her treatment. Only wearing long sleeves will cover self-harm scars :(
    16 July 2018
  • yan
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a grade.12 researcher, can I ask for your permission to use your questionnaire with…
    15 July 2018
  • Leanne 75
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Hi my niece self harmed she stopped .but last night I have saw she has done it again . Lines up her arm and put fat and…
    15 July 2018
  • KelN
    Re: Losing Your Virginity
    @Syd - you don't have to ask your mum to be put in the pill. You can ask your doctor confidentially. It is the best form of contraception…
    12 July 2018
  • Syd
    Re: Losing Your Virginity
    I’m 15 and I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 1 year. We are both ready, especially me. However, I’m just nervous of the risks,…
    11 July 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Secret - Your Question:I am 17 years old and I had sex with my 16 year old boyfriend we have done it on and off as I have been very skeptical…
    9 July 2018
  • Secret
    Re: All about Abortion
    I am 17 years old and I had sex with my 16 year old boyfriend we have done it on and off as I have been very skeptical about doing it as I’m…
    8 July 2018
  • Pran
    Re: Beauty Tips for Boys
    I want fair and glowing skin which glaze like a clear so plz suggested me some tips which was really proven
    6 July 2018
  • BoiBoiBoi
    Re: All about Abortion
    I’m pregnant. I can’t speak to my GP, because I don’t know who it is. I can’t tell my parents know. Can I go to an abortion clinic and request…
    1 July 2018
  • Lonz
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a research adviser of our Grade 12 students. I am asking permission to use your…
    29 June 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TeenIssues website. Please read our Disclaimer.