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      Types

      Anorexia Nervosa:  According to Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of National Institute of Mental Health, “Anorexia is a brain disease with severe metabolic effects on the entire body.”  It is a serious eating disorder with a growing fear of gaining weight, a distorted image of one’s body and weight, denial of the illness, and amenorrhea in females.  It typically develops during adolescence although it can develop at any time during one’s lifetime.  Predominant in adolescent girls and young women, it is also prevalent in boys and men, and older women.  Other psychiatric illnesses like depression and anxiety may increase the risk of developing anorexia at a later stage in life.  Food is not the cause of anorexia usually, but rather a way of coping with underlying emotional issues like perfectionism, and low self-esteem. 

      Bulimia Nervosa:  People with bulimia eat large amounts of food and then try to get rid of the excess food by vomiting, laxative abuse, taking enemas, or rigorously exercising.  These individuals are able to hide their problems because they secretively binge and then purge to maintain normal body weight.  Bulimia can begin in adolescence and because they are ashamed of their behaviors, they do not seek professional help until the condition has progressed and difficult to change.  

      Binge Eating Disorder:  People suffering from binge eating consume large quantities of food in a short period with a sense of loss of control.  It can occur combined with another eating disorder like bulimia.  It is the most common eating disorder and similar to substance abuse in obsessive thoughts, feelings of guilt, and emotional anger. 

      Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS):  It is the most common eating disorder and accounts for nearly 75%of all cases of eating disorders.  When a person struggles with eating disorder feelings and behaviors, but does not exhibit typical symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, it is classified as EDNOS.  A person might fit into the criteria for anorexia but the weight is within the normal range, or the person might chew and spit the food out without swallowing it.  Although the symptoms are not typical to any of the eating disorder categories, the condition is equally serious and dangerous.