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A Quick Guide to Eating Disorders

Here’s what you need to know about the most common eating disorders:

ANOREXIA NERVOSA

Anorexia nervosa is a potentially deadly eating disorder. The sufferer intentionally starves herself, and is unwilling or unable to keep a healthy weight for her size, height, body type and activity level. She has an intense need for control and is scared of gaining weight even when extremely underweight.

BULIMIA NERVOSA

The bulimic consumes large amounts of food in short periods of time- – sometimes, thousands of calories at one sitting – and then forces herself to purge by throwing up, exercising or using laxatives. After bingeing and purging, a bulimic feels depressed or guilty. Like the anorexic, she is intensely fearful of being fat. Binge-and-purge cycles damage the digestive system and affect major internal organs, like the heart, which can cause death.

COMPULSIVE OVEREATING

The compulsive overeater, usually overweight, eats to excess even when not hungry, but doesn't purge food. The overeater eats throughout the day, not just during binges. Health concerns, similar to people with clinical obesity, include diabetes.

POSTED ON 1/24/2010 7:00:00 AM

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