Women and Eating Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder characterized by
(a) the refusal to maintain body weight of at least 85% of normal expected weight;
(b) intense fear of weight gain;
(c) distorted body perception;
and (d) amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle).
Many anorexics deny having a problem; however, some do recognize their eating disordered behavior, but do not know what to do to fix it.
Bulimia Nervosa is defined as
(a) recurrent episodes of binge eating experienced as out of control;
(b) regular purging, fasting, or excessive exercise to prevent weight gain;
(c) at least two episodes of binging and purging per week for at least three months; and
(d) persistent over-concern with weight and shape.
Binge-eating disorder is characterized by uncontrollable binge eating without compensatory behaviors.
Complications from eating disorders:
Complications from starvation and severe dieting:
Complications from purging methods:
Complications from compulsive overeating:
Sources:• "Facts About Eating Disorders," National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
• "Eating Disorders: Facts About Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions," National Institute of Mental Health, 2001
• "Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa," Margaret McKenna, MD, Textbook of Inpatient Psychiatry
• "Eating Disorders in Men," Roberto Olivardia, BA, and Harrison G. Pope, Jr. MD, Directions in Psychiatry - Vol. 17, Special Report.
• "Inside the Dazzling and Deadly World of Supermodels: Bad & Beautiful," Ian Halperin, New York: Citadel Press, 2001.
• "Statistics: Eating Disorders and their Precursors," National Eating Disorders Association
Special thanks to Caroline Gaudiani, a 2002 NOW summer intern, for access to her information on eating disorders, and to ECHO, a Harvard University peer counseling organization dedicated to helping people get through eating disorders.