Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by immoderate food restriction, inappropriate eating habits or rituals, obsession with having a thin figure, and an irrational fear of weight gain, as well as a distorted body self-perception. It typically involves excessive weight loss and is diagnosed approximately nine times more often in females than in males. Due to their fear of gaining weight, individuals with this disorder restrict the amount of food they consume. Patients with anorexia nervosa often experience dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, fever, and a lack of energy. To counteract these side effects, particularly the latter, individuals with anorexia may engage in other harmful behaviors, such as smoking, excessive caffeine consumption, and attempting to take diet pills, along with an increased exercise regimen.
  • Anorexia nervosa is often coupled with a distorted self image which may be maintained by various cognitive biases that alter how the affected individual evaluates and thinks about their body, food, and eating. People with anorexia nervosa often view themselves as overweight or "big" even when they are already underweight.
  • Anorexia nervosa most often has its onset in adolescence and is more prevalent among adolescent females than adolescent males. In general, men appear to be more comfortable with their weight and perceive less pressure to be thin than women.
  • While the majority of people with anorexia nervosa continue to feel hunger, they deny themselves all but very small quantities of food. The average caloric intake of individuals with anorexia nervosa varies drastically depending both on whether the individual engages in binging and/or purging behavior, and if the individual has engaged in that behavior in the day in question.

Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging, or consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time followed by an attempt to rid oneself of the food consumed (purging), typically by vomiting, taking a laxative, diuretic, or stimulant, and/or excessive exercise, because of an extensive concern for body weight.
  • Some individuals may tend to alternate between bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Bulimia is also commonly accompanied with fasting over an extended period of time. These dangerous, habit-forming practices occur while the sufferer is trying to keep their weight under a self-imposed threshold. It can lead to potassium loss and health deterioration, with depressive symptoms that are often severe and lead to a high risk of suicide. Bulimia nervosa is considered to be less life-threatening than anorexia; however, the occurrence of bulimia nervosa is higher.Bulimia nervosa is nine times more likely to occur in women than men. Up to 1% of women have bulimia nervosa.
  • Many individuals with bulimia nervosa also have an additional psychiatric disorder. Common comorbidities are mood disorders, anxiety, impulse control, and substance-misuse disorders. Patients with bulimia nervosa often have impulsive behaviors involving overspending and sexual behaviors as well as having family histories of alcohol and substance abuse, mood and eating disorders.

Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating without subsequent purging episodes. BED usually leads to obesity although it can occur in normal weight individuals.
  • Each binge consists of eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances, and is accompanied by a feeling of loss of control (i.e. they feel that they cannot stop eating and cannot control what they are eating and how much they are eating).
  • The binge eating occurs, on average, at least twice a week for 6 months.
  • The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior and does not occur exclusively during the course Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa.
  • The person is seriously worried about the binge eating.
Also, an individual must have 3 or more of the following symptoms:
  • Feels disgusted, depressed, or guilty after binge eating.
  • Eats an unusually large amount of food at one time, far more than a regular person would eat.
  • Eats much more quickly during binge episodes than during normal eating episodes.
  • Eats until physically uncomfortable and nauseated due to the amount of food consumed.
  • Eats when bored or depressed
  • Eats large amounts of food even when not really hungry.
  • Often eats alone during periods of normal eating, owing to feelings of embarrassment about food.


Night Eating Syndrome
Night eating syndrome (NES) is an eating disorder, characterized by a delayed circadian pattern of food intake. Although there is some degree of comorbidity with binge eating disorder, it differs from binge eating in that the amount of food consumed in the evening/night is not necessarily objectively large nor is a loss of control over food intake required. Research diagnostic criteria have been proposed and include evening hyperphagia (consumption of 25% or more of the total daily calories after the evening meal) and/or nocturnal awakening and ingestion of food two or more times per week. Three of five associated symptoms must also be present: lack of morning hunger, urges to eat in the evening/at night, belief that one must eat in order to fall back to sleep at night, depressed mood, and/or difficulty sleeping. NES affects both men and women, between 1 and 2% of the general population, and approximately 10% of obese individuals.The age of onset is typically in early adulthood (spanning from late teenage years to late twenties) and is often long-lasting, with children rarely reporting NES. People with NES have been shown to have higher scores for depression and low self-esteem, and it has been demonstrated that nocturnal levels of the hormones melatonin and leptin are decreased.