Characterized by extreme weight loss, an irrational and obsessive fear of weight gain, and the use of restrictive methods to control weight. Some of the symptoms include:
- Unhealthy obsession about weight and food consumption
- Severe (and often rapid) weight loss via self-induced starvation or extreme dieting
- Attempting to control food intake by counting calories, fat grams, etc.
- Pretending to have normal eating habits in an effort to hide the illness
- Denial of hunger, claims to have already eaten, consistent attempts to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food
- Development of food rituals: eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on plate)
- Excessive and rigid exercise despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury
- Withdrawal from typical friends and activities
Primarily defined by cycles binging and purging. Bulimics attempt to counter sessions of excessive overeating with controlled behaviors that rid the body of the food consumed.
Purging Type: Defined by self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diet pills, diuretics, or enemas.
Non-Purging Type: Includes those who compensate for overeating with fasting or excessive exercise.
- Typically hyper-focused on body image, weight, and shape
- Extreme (and often rapid) weight loss
- Feeling of helplessness to control overeating during binge sessions
- Extreme overeating followed by any purging methods: forced vomiting, the abuse of laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, and enemas, extreme fasting and/or exercise.
- Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or finding wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food.
- Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics.
- Excessive, rigid exercise regimen--despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury, the compulsive need to "burn off" calories taken in.
- Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area.
- Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting, discoloration or staining of the teeth
- Creation of lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge-and-purge sessions.
- Withdrawal from usual friends and activities.
- In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns.
- Continued exercise despite injury; overuse injuries
Binge Eating / Compulsive Eating
Binge eating, also known as compulsive eating or compulsive overeating, is a more recently recognized disorder affecting millions of Americans. Instead of purging, sufferers are left with intense feelings of shame, guilt, regret, and even disgust.
- As with bulimia nervosa, sufferers consume large amounts of food in one sitting, but no purging takes place.
- Lack of self-control while eating
- Consuming larger-than-normal amounts of food within a short period of time
- Feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust as a result of overeating
Night eating is another newly recognized disorder that affects eating patterns, sleep, mood, and hormone levels. Nights are fueled by binge-eating sessions coupled with agitation or insomnia.
- A focus on high-carb snacks
- Skipping breakfast and avoiding eating throughout the day
- Overeating or binge-eating at night
- Frequent waking or insomnia
- Changes in mood grow worse throughout the day, and sufferers may even exhibit signs of depression