Body image and eating disorders are topics that continue to have serious relevancy today in all social, personal, and emotional situations — most commonly affecting those in their adolescent years and throughout their teens.



In the case of anorexia nervosa, the afflicted are disturbed by a distorted perception of themselves. To them, their weight and body size is of the utmost importance — so much so that it interferes with activities in their lives and can eventually cause severe health concerns and even death.

The issues related to anorexia nervosa include emotional and behavioral issues, such as a severe fear of gaining weight or getting fat. In an effort to prevent weight gain, an anorexic may exercise excessively and may severely restrict what he or she eats as well as use diet aids, laxatives, enemas, and diuretics.

According to Mayo Clinic:

“Anorexia isn’t really about food. It’s an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems. When you have anorexia, you often equate thinness with self-worth.” 

Some physical symptoms:
list from Mayo Clinic

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Thin appearance
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers
  • Hair that thins, breaks, or falls out
  • Soft, downy hair covering the body
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Constipation
  • Dry or yellowish skin
  • Intolerance of cold
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Osteoporosis
  • Swelling of arms or legs


Some emotional and behavioral symptoms that may be related to anorexia:
list from Mayo Clinic

  • Preoccupation with food
  • Refusal to eat
  • Denial of hunger
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Lying about how much food has been eaten
  • Flat mood (lack of emotion)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability
  • Reduced interest in sex
  • Depressed mood
  • Thoughts of suicide




Bulimia nervosa is another serious and potentially life-threatening disorder. People with bulimia may secretly eat large amounts of food, binging, and then vomit to try to get rid of the food. They may also purge after only eating small amounts.

There are two types of bulimia: purging bulimia and non-purging bulimia. Purging bulimia describes people who cause themselves to vomit or who misuse purging products — such as laxatives and diuretics — after binging. Non-purging bulimia deals with losing or maintaining weight through different methods, including fasting, following a strict diet, or exercising more than is necessary.


The signs and symptoms are similar to those of anorexia:
list from Mayo Clinic 

  • Being preoccupied with your body shape and weight
  • Living in fear of gaining weight
  • Feeling that you can’t control your eating behavior
  • Eating until the point of discomfort or pain
  • Eating much more food in a binge episode than in a normal meal or snack
  • Forcing yourself to vomit or exercise too much to keep from gaining weight after binging
  • Misusing laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after eating
  • Restricting calories or avoiding certain foods between binges
  • Using dietary supplements or herbal products excessively for weight loss


Whether the disorder is BDD, anorexia, bulimia, or any type of eating disorder, it is important to realize the seriousness of the disease and seek professional assistance. Life can be a beautiful experience if you set your goal to make it just that, and with these medical disorders, you aren’t able to receive the full preciousness that can be derived from this life. It’s important to realize that there is help that can fill your life with more pleasure and happiness.

For more information, and to help find support, talk to your doctor.
You can also call the help line for NEDA Feeding Hope at 1-800-931-2237, or you can visit their website here.

One Reply to “The Truth About Eating Disorders”

  1. Why did you not include binge eating disorder? It is far more common than anorexia or bulimia, yet much less well known. Binge eating disorder is just as likely to lead to suicide as other eating disorders—the most fatal mental illness. Please include it in your article so that sufferers can recognize their symptoms and reach out for help.

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