There are three main types of eating disorders; these are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. The term eating disorder is used to describe any eating patterns that are obsessive and long lasting. In the last 20 to 30 years or so there has been a marked increase in the amount of people troubled by these disorders. Let’s have a brief look at the three variants. Anorexia nervosa is a disorder where individuals starve themselves of food, because they have an obsessive longing to be thin. This disorder tends to affect mainly teenage girls, but can also affect men, and it is serious and sometimes even fatal. About half of the people with anorexia who have hospital treatment still struggle with the disorder and have symptoms for a long time afterwards.
One trait of sufferers seems to be a lack of self-esteem. Bulimia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, usually shortened to bulimia, is a disorder where individuals have a binge-eating session; this is usually then followed by them making themselves sick. This self-induced vomiting is because of feelings of guilt at having eaten so much. People with bulimia tend to suffer from an unnatural preoccupation with their own body, and as with anorexic patients they have a fear of gaining weight. Individuals who suffer with bulimia will devour huge quantities of food in an attempt to reduce stress, and help them deal with feelings of anxiety. Binge eating disorder involves bouts of overeating high calorie foods on a regular basis, but unlike bulimia sufferers, they don’t make themselves vomit. People with this disorder not surprisingly, are usually overweight.
This disorder was first recognized about 45 years ago; but it is only in recent times that it has been seen as a widespread problem. Studies have shown that binge eating seems to run in families, so it looks like there is a genetic link. The rather worrying news is that the big three eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, are reported to be on the rise all around the world.