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What Are the Differences Between Bulimia and Anorexia?

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an irrational fear of weight gain. People with anorexia nervosa believe that they are overweight even when they are extremely thin.
An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of females have anorexia nervosa. While the majority of people with anorexia are female, an estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia are male. Individuals with anorexia become obsessed with food and severely restrict their dietary intake.
The disease is associated with several health problems and, in rare cases, even death. The disorder may begin as early as the onset of puberty. If a girl has anorexia when she reaches puberty, her first menstrual period is typically delayed. For girls who have already reached puberty, menstrual periods are often infrequent or absent.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa, typically just called bulimia, is an eating disorder in which a person eats a lot of food in a short amount of time (called bingeing) and then tries to prevent weight gain by purging.
Purging might be done in these ways:
  • Making oneself throw up
  • Taking laxatives, pills, or liquids that increase how fast food moves through the body.
A person with bulimia may also use these ways to prevent weight gain:
  • Exercising a lot
  • Eating very little or not at all
  • Taking pills to pass urine.
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