Anorexia and bulimia nervosa are not the same. These two eating disorders have many similarities but many differences. Too often, anorexia and bulimia are confused for one another or roped together into one “eating disorder”. Addressing the individual signs and symptoms of eating disorders is essential to getting a loved one the help that they need. While both anorexia and bulimia have severe side effects and threats, over time, anorexia proves to be fatal, while bulimia has serious health complications. Anorexia nervosa has one of the highest rates of fatality in all of mental health. Below are descriptions and symptoms of anorexia and bulimia.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is most strongly characterized by binging and restricting. Many of the behaviors associated with purging are different from bulimia. The emphasis in anorexia is on restricting, often times to dangerous levels.

Symptoms Of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Following new dietary trends or fasts
  • Regularly participating in “detox” or “cleanse” diets
  • Preoccupation with food consumption, body image, exercise
  • Skipping meals, replacing meals with liquid beverages or meal replacements
  • Demonstrating anxiety about eating too much food and needing to compensate
  • Audibly discussing being “fat” or negative comments about food or body image
  • Interruptions in normal hormone processes (menstrual cycle disruptions for girls)
  • Symptoms of malnourishment like hair falling out

Bulimia Nervosa

Symptoms Of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Alternating cycles of binge eating and purging
  • Purging behaviors including: going to the bathroom after eating to purge, abusing diuretics, excessive exercising
  • Trying to minimize eating in public or around others, then bingeing in private, and purging as a result
  • Excessive exercise
  • Audible complaints about body image, eating, feeling too full and being “fat”

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