Eating Disorders

Eating disorders most often occur in teenage girls and young women. These disorders cause a person to have unhealthy thoughts and behaviours related to food and body image. Eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa . People with anorexia nervosa have a distorted perception of their body size and shape and are very afraid of gaining weight or getting fat. They eat very little and often become extremely thin. But even when they become very thin, they still believe they are overweight and continue trying to lose weight. Some people with anorexia make themselves vomit. Females often stop (or never start) having menstrual periods. Complications, such as anemia or irregular heartbeats, may also develop.
  • Binge eating . This is a condition in which people have episodes when they feel as if eating is out of their control. They consume more food than they normally would eat. People who have binge eating disorder are often embarrassed or feel guilty about their behaviour. Binge eating disorder may be the most common eating disorder.
  • Bulimia nervosa . People who have bulimia nervosa are overly concerned or worried about their body shape and weight. They also feel out of control of their eating and have binge eating episodes. To try to prevent weight gain, people with bulimia nervosa use "purging"-self-induced vomiting, laxatives or water pills, or excessive exercise-after a binging episode.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry

Current as ofJuly 26, 2016