Disordered eating consists of a spectrum of thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with problem eating. On one end of this spectrum one might find concerns with body image and preoccupation with certain foods or eating habits. On the other end one might see severe caloric restriction (Anorexia Nervosa) or binge-purge cycles (Bulimia Nervosa), either of which can result in serious health problems and even death.
Signs of Anorexia include:
- Refusal to maintain body weight expected for age and height (weight is less than 85% of what is expected)
- Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
- Distortions in body image
- In women, absence of three consecutive menstrual cycles
Signs of Bulimia include:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating
- Recurrent compensation for the binges, such as vomiting, misuse of laxatives or other medications, enemas, fasting, or excessive exercise
- The binge-purge cycles occur, on average, at least twice a week for three months
Along with any of the above signs there are often multiple associated signs or symptoms. These can include relationship problems arising from deceit and secrecy, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and interference with the pursuit of major life goals such as school and work.
Help is available for eating disorders. If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of an eating disorder, contact the Counseling Center at 348-3863.