What Are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa?

Many people think that they have an understanding of their body and their relationship with food and exercise. However, sometimes this understanding is not there or become warped inside of a person’s mind resulting in an unhealthy and even life-threatening relationship with food and exercise. This is what happens when a person has an eating disorder. As simple as this may sound, it is actually quite complicated. Get to know more about two of the most common eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa so that if you are suffering from either of these conditions (or you know someone that is), you can get the help you need from an eating disorder treatment center here in St. Louis, Missouri as soon as possible.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is primarily characterized by deprivation. A person who is anorexic has a toxic relationship with food in that they view all food as a road to adding calories in their body, which means gaining weight. As such, if food is consumed it is extremely restricted and limited. A person with anorexia nervosa may keep a close record of the food that they are consuming, adhere to an extremely low calorie diet, only eat certain foods that they deem okay, and may have to eat at certain times and in certain routines to be comfortable eating.

Many people who suffer from anorexia nervosa also develop obsessive habits with weighing and measuring themselves and become very secretive about their eating and exercising routines. They may also develop excessive exercise habits where they are constantly working out to try to burn off all of the calories they have consumed.

What Is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is another eating disorder that involves an unhealthy relationship with food. However, this disorder involves a cycle of binging and purging rather than total deprivation. A person who is bulimic will go through periods of time where they will eat any and everything they want to eat. This can look different for different people. For one person, binging can be eating a slice of pizza from a pizza parlor. For another person, it can be eating an entire tub of ice cream. The food that is binged on is usually unhealthy (but not always).

After the bulimic person has binged on the food, they will then attempt to purge it. The purge cycle means that they are trying to get the food and the calories consumed out of the body as quickly as possible. For most bulimics, this means forcing themselves to vomit the food up or taking laxatives to expel the food quickly that way. This can also involve obsessive exercise for every calorie consumed.

Now that you know more of the facts about bulimia and anorexia, you can better recognize the signs and get the help necessary if you are suffering from one (or both) of these eating disorders. If you are ready to get help, contact the St. Louis Behavioral  Medicine Institute to get started.

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