Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder in which preoccupation with dieting
and thinness leads to excessive weight loss. Anorexics have an intense
fear of fat, and their preoccupation with food and weight often masks
other underlying psychological problems. The individual may not
acknowledge that his or her weight loss or restrictive eating is a problem.
One percent of teenage girls in the U.S. develop anorexia nervosa and up
to 10% of those may die as a result.
Bulimia Nervosa is described as a disorder in which frequent episodes
of binge eating (rapid consumption of food in one sitting) are almost
always followed by purging (ridding the body of food). Purging can
involve vomiting, abusing laxatives and/or diuretics, exercising compulsively
and/or fasting. Binging and purging is often followed by intense feelings
of guilt and shame. The bulimic may not be visibly underweight and may even
be slightly overweight. Like the anorexic, the bulimic uses self-destructive
eating behaviors to deal with psychological problems that may go much
deeper than her/his obsession with food and weight. Usually, the individual
feels out of control and recognizes that the behavior is not normal. Up to
5% of college women in the U.S. are bulimic.
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