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Types of Eating Disorders & Warning Signs

In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness week, Her Campus Tufts aims to spread awareness about various eating disorders and how they are affecting women. One of the first steps to helping a friend in need is to get educated about some of the different types of disorders and to be able to recognize their respective warning signs. Here is some information about three common eating disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is a disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. 90-95% of anorexia nervosa sufferers are girls and women.

Warning Signs:

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, and dieting
  • Refusal to eat certain foods
  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat” despite weight loss
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is characterized by a cycle of bingeing and self-induced vomiting, designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating. People struggling with this disorder usually appear to be of an average body weight.

Warning Signs:

  • Evidence of binge eating: disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time, or finding wrappers and containers
  • Evidence of purging behaviors: frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting
  • Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
  • Discoloration/staining of teeth
  • Calluses on the back of hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent episodes of bingeing. Bingeing is often accompanied by feelings of loss of control and shame, or guilt. Compensatory measures to counter the binge eating are not regularly used (i.e. self-induced vomiting). BED It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.

Warning Signs:

  • Evidence of binge eating
  • Secretive food behaviors, including eating secretly
  • Engaging in sporadic fasting or repetitive dieting
  • Co-occurring conditions such as depression may be present
  • Body weight varies from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity

If you think you may have an eating disorder or recognize any of these warning signs in a friend, you can access information on resources for help here.




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