Anorexia nervosa is more common in teenagers, while bulimia is often seen in women in their 20s. Both disorders focus on an obsession with thinness, with anorexics displaying severe weight loss while bulimics maintain a healthy weight.
Bulimia damages the digestive system and can affect electrolyte balances, resulting in damaged organs. The starvation in anorexia causes the body to slow down to preserve energy, which in turn has adverse consequences.
In extreme cases, both can lead to death.
Here are their signs and symptoms:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating
- A feeling of lack of control over eating during the binges
- Self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics, strict dieting or fasting, or vigorous exercise
- Overly concerned with body shape and weight
- Puffy face
- Swollen fingers
- Cuts and calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles
- Discolouring or staining of teeth
- Avoids eating
- Exercises excessively
- Weighs food and counts calories
- Wears baggy clothes
- Takes diet pills
- Has dry skin and thinning hair
- Has fine hair on other parts of body
- Acts moody or depressed
- Feels cold
- Has frequent sensation of dizziness
- Three consecutive missed menstrual periods without pregnancy