The two most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Anorexia nervosa (self-starvation) is triggered by emotional distress, problems in relationships, and/or dieting. It typically strikes those described as perfectionists and high achievers. Desperately needing a feeling of mastery over life, those with anorexia nervosa experience a sense of control only when they say no to the normal food demands of the body. In a relentless pursuit to be thin, anorexics starve themselves even though they are weak, hungry, and unhealthily thin.
Bulimia nervosa (the binge-purge syndrome) is alsoo triggered by emotional distress, problems, in relationships, and/or dieting. Most bulimics binge (a binge may be six cookies after a diet meal or 50,000 calories gobbled down in one to two hours) and then purge themselves by vomiting as soon as they have eaten. Some abuse laxatives, diuretics (water pills), and diet pills. Many exercise excessively to burn calories.
Both anorexia and bulimia are serious disorders that can lead to serious medical problems or death. Sufferers must understand that consulting a professional or entering a program is not a confirmation of inadequacy but rather a sign of maturity. Getting help demonstrates a desire to consider new solutions to old problems.
More information and Resources:
•Baylor Counseling Center Online Mental Health Screenings
•Facts on Eating Disorders
•National Associations of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
•National Eating Disorders Association