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What are the different types of eating disorders?

Anorexia nervosa occurs when an individual eats very little and loses an unhealthy amount of weight, along with having a distorted body image. People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. They may weight themselves repeatedly, severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young men and women die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders.


Bulimia nervosa occurs when an individual consumes a large amount of food at one time on a recurrent basis and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa usually maintain what is considered a healthy or relatively normal weight.


Binge Eating Disorder exists when an individual consumes a large amount of food at one time on a recurrent basis. People with binge-eating disorder lose control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, these periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder are often overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.