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Bulimia vs. Anorexia

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Approximately 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders (ANAD).

Bulimia and anorexia represent two of the three most common eating disorders, with binge eating being the third.

If left untreated, these disorders can result in death. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and only one in 10 people actually receives treatment.

Below are some facts about the differences and similarities between bulimia and anorexia.

Anorexia Facts

  • Anorexia nervosa is a disorder where sufferers pursue losing weight despite appearing very thin and emaciated.
  • • In order to stay thin, anorexics typically engage in extreme dieting, binge eating followed by purging, or excessive exercise to maintain their extremely low weight.
  • • Some people with anorexia may abuse or misuse laxatives, enemas or diuretic medications.
  • • Up to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia at some point during their lifetime.
  • • About 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia.
  • • Approximately 50 percent of anorexics also develop bulimia or patterns of bulimia.
  • • About 20 percent of anorexics will die from complications such as suicide or heart problems.

Bulimia Facts

  • Bulimia nervosa is characterized by frequent, recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food (also called binge eating) followed by purging - vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, exercising or fasting - to get “rid” of the food.
  • • People who suffer from bulimia may not appear to be underweight, but actually may be normal weight or even overweight.
  • • Up to 4.2 percent of women suffer from bulimia at some point during their lifetime.
  • • About 14 percent of gay males suffer from bulimia.

Source: National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders