Update your browser or enable Javascript to view and use this site as designed.
Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders most often occur in teenage girls and young women. These disorders cause a person to have unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to food and body image. Eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa . People with anorexia nervosa have a distorted perception of their body size and shape and may be very afraid of gaining weight or getting fat. They eat very little and often become extremely thin. But even when they become very thin, they may deny how serious their weight loss is or still believe they are overweight and may continue trying to lose weight. Some people with anorexia make themselves vomit. Females may stop (or never start) having menstrual periods. Complications, such as anemia or irregular heartbeats , may also develop.
  • Binge eating disorder . This is a disorder in which people have episodes when they feel as if eating is out of their control. They consume more food than they normally would eat, in a short period of time. People who have binge eating disorder are often embarrassed or feel guilty about their behavior. Binge eating disorder may be the most common eating disorder.
  • Bulimia nervosa . People who have bulimia nervosa are overly concerned or worried about their body shape and weight. They also feel out of control of their eating and have binge eating episodes. To try to prevent weight gain, people with bulimia nervosa use "purging"—self-induced vomiting, laxatives or water pills, or excessive exercise—after a binge eating episode.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry

Current as ofAugust 27, 2013

Healthwise Index

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.