How To Recognize Eating Disorders


This disorder is often referred to as the binge and purge disorder. Bulimics consume large amounts of food in a short time and then self-induce vomiting and/or abuse laxatives because of their fear of gaining weight. They are convinced that purging is the only way to avoid obesity.

Bulimics are prone to depression and often progress into anorexia.


  • broken blood vessels in the eyes
  • swollen saliva glands
  • puffy area below the comers of the mouth
  • teeth that are prone to cavities and erosion
  • gums may be diseased
  • rashes and pimples may break out on the skin
  • preoccupation with food
  • abuse of laxatives, diet pills, emetics and diuretics
  • compulsive exercising
  • distorted body image
  • thinking may be confused or slowed


This is a disorder of severe self-imposed dieting. It most often affects teenage girls. They may believe that emaciation is attractive. They most often have a distorted self – image, seeing themselves as fat when they are actually very thin. When weight decreases to 60 percent below normal, the risk of death is increased significantly.


  • major weight loss from excessive and continuous dieting
  • emaciation
  • rapid weight loss
  • menstruation is infrequent or absent
  • distorted body image
  • dry skin covered with fine hair
  • loss of normal scalp hair
  • feet and hands are cold and swollen
  • thinking may be confused or slow
  • compulsive exercising
  • eventually the ability to exercise is impaired


Eating disorders most often impact teenage, middle-class girls. They feel a tremendous pressure to fit into a picture of perfection. Diagnosing and treating eating disorders can be very difficult, in part, because the patient and the family may deny that there is a problem.


Psychotherapy, diet counseling and counseling for parents is recommended for anorexia and bulimia. Both are treated with behavior modification and psychotherapy, sometimes along with antidepressants. If weight loss or bingeing and purging are out of control, hospitalization for both disorders may be necessary.

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