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Eating disorders

Eating disorders cover a number of diagnoses. Anorexia, bulimia and BED (Binge Eating Disorder) will be covered here.

What are eating disorders?

Anorexia is an illness where you are afraid of gaining weight, have a distorted body perception and a strong desire to get thinner. You are obsessed with the idea of controlling your body and losing weight and staying slim at a level that is unhealthy and can be life threatening. You starve yourself and possibly use excessive exercising and medication to achieve your goal of not eating.

Bulimia consists in recurring eating bouts and binge eating followed by vomiting. Binge eating often takes place in secret. You are excessively preoccupied with weight control and appearance and take laxatives or exercise excessively. The recurring vomiting can lead to bodily disorders and damaged dental enamel.
Both anorexia and bulimia are predominantly seen in younger women, often of the age 12-20 years.

Binge Eating Disorder consists of binge eating and eating in extreme proportions, but unlike the case of bulimia, the binge eating isn’t followed by weight-regulating behaviour. People suffering from Binge Eating Disorders are often obese and live with the illness for several years without knowing it’s an illness. Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder.

Symptoms

Symptoms of anorexia:

  • Weigh at least 15 percent below the standard weight
  • A BMI below 17,5
  • Avoid fatty foods
  • You prefer to eat alone
  • Think that you are too fat even though you in reality are too thin
  • Suffer from hormonal disorders (absent period, no desire for sex)

Symptoms of bulimia:

  • Oscillate between excessive food intake and attempts to avoid the fattening consequences by means of various methods such as self-induced vomiting, fasting diets, and excessive exercise.
  • You prefer to eat alone

Symptoms of binge eating disorder:

  • You binge eat regularly
  • You are overweight
  • You plan and coordinate your binge eating
  • Social isolation

Treatment

If you suffer from an eating disorder, you can be treated with psychotherapy. You also receive dietary counselling as a part of the treatment. Newer antidepressants (SSRIs) have some effect on bulimia. Early treatment and good family relations contribute to a good result. 

Find more information here:

Eating Disorder Hope 
National Institute of Mental Health (US)
VærDig (in Danish)


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