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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eating Disorders – Bulimia Nervosa Vs Anorexia Nervosa

Eating disorders are those disorders where a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, usually in extremes. The person may either eat large amounts of food or go into a fasting mode to starve. These people are overly distressed or concerned about their body weight or shape. Eating disorders are very complex due to their psychological nature and need to be taken seriously.

The two main types of eating disorder are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. There is also a third category called the "eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)," which includes other variations of eating disorders like “binge–eating” disorder.

Drunkorexia, Manorexia, Diabulimia are new terms (not official or standard medical terms) that have emerged recently and simply refer to subcategories of the well-known eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Drunkorexia is a term used to describe the condition of binge drinking combined with the typical self-imposed starvation seen with anorexia nervosa. The person affected with this disorder is typically a college-aged woman who starves herself whole day so that she can get drunk at night.

Manorexia, as the name suggests refers to a man suffering from Anorexia Nervosa.

Diabulimia is also a type of eating disorder that affects people who take insulin to treat their diabetes. These people try to minimize their insulin dosages in type 1 diabetes in an attempt to control their body weight. Most commonly seen in young girls and women suffering from type 1 diabetes.

Anorexia Nervosa Vs Bulimia:

Anorexia and bulimia are both serious psychological eating disorders characterized by an abnormal obsession of the person affected towards their body weight and shape. Both of these disorders begin typically after a period of dieting and the fear of gaining weight thereafter. These people are typically driven to look thin, are preoccupied with their weight, food, and appearance. They all struggle with feelings of guilt, depression, anxiety, and the need to look perfect. These people may start an excessive use of diet pills or other such drugs to control their weight and or bowel movements. Both the disorders are characterized with a disturbed attitude towards eating.

Both the eating disorders also differ form each other in many ways. The main difference between the two being that the people suffering from anorexia nervosa tend to “fast” and starve themselves to look skinny. They tend to be underweight and malnourished. And in spite of their skinny look they still seem to think that they are overweight. They use extreme methods like, excessive exercise, intake of laxatives and not eating to lose weight.

Whereas, the people who suffer from bulimia nervosa, tend to eat food or binge in large amounts followed by purging or vomiting. They generally look normal with normal body weight or at times even slightly overweight and are very secretive about their purging habits. They too use extreme measures like vomiting, diet pills or intake of laxatives to lose weight. It has been observed that the people who suffer from bulimia are more concerned about pleasing others, being attractive to others and even having intimate relationships. They are generally less obsessive than the people who suffer from anorexia, but can easily become bored, frustrated, suffer mood swings and have trouble in controlling their impulses. Bulimics (about one third of them) display characteristics of a personality disorder.

Another difference between the two eating disorders is in the nature of medical complications that are associated with them. It has been observed that only half of the women who suffer from bulimia experience amenorrhea or very irregular menstrual periods as compared to almost all women who suffer from anorexia. The people who suffer from bulimia will experience serious dental problems like breaking down of enamel and loss of teeth due to their habit of repeated vomiting. On the other hand, it has been found that the frequent vomiting or chronic diarrhea, due to the use of laxatives, can cause fatal potassium deficiencies, which may lead to weakness, intestinal disorders, kidney disease, or heart damage.

The National Eating Disorders Association has dedicated a website to educate, provide support and resources to those affected by eating disorders. You can join their cause, donate funds or help out by getting involved personally.

How Are We Working To Better Understand And Treat Eating Disorders?
To understand more about Bulimia nervosa read Bulimia Nervosa an Eating disorder - Statistics, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Original article posted on Xomba

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