Eating Disorders

Two of the most common eating disorders—anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Eating disorders often are chronic in nature and, as a result, may require long-term treatment. The medical consequences of anorexia, which include death in about 10 percent of the cases, usually are more severe than bulimia. The earlier these disorders are diagnosed and treated, the better the prospects are for full recovery. 

Anorexia nervosa—People who have this disorder often develop elaborate rituals around food, continue to lose weight, and can literally starve themselves to death. They also may exercise excessively. 

Bulimia nervosa—Those who have bulimia gorge themselves, then almost immediately make themselves vomit or use laxatives or diuretics to purge their bodies of food. This often is referred to as the “binge/purge” cycle. Preoccupation with weight is a primary trait of both disorders.

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