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Scale, tape measure and an apple
Scale, tape measure and an apple

The three most common eating disorders

We will explain what the three most common eating disorders are. These are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa (anorexia)

  • When you have anorexia, you eat so little that your weight becomes too low.

  • On top of that you have an extreme fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.

  • You also have a distorted image of yourself. This means that you see or feel your body differently than it really is. You think you are too fat, but in reality you are not.

  • When you have anorexia you often don’t see that underweight is harmful.

Bulimia nervosa (bulimia)

  • When you have bulimia, you have at least one food binge once a week over a period of 3 months. A food binge is eating too much food in a short period of time. You cannot prevent a food binge.

  • With bulimia you always ‘undo’ a food binge, for instance by vomitting or doing sports. Sometimes someone takes pills or does not eat for days. This ‘undoing of a food binge’ is called compensation.

  • With bulima you also have a distorted image of yourself; you often see yourself fatter than you really are.

Binge eating disorder

  • Just like with bulimia, you have at least one food binge once a week over a period of 3 months.

  • A binge eating disorder is very similar to bulimia nervosa. The only difference is that you do not try to ‘undo’ the food binge.

More information about eating disorders can be found at the website of Beat Eating Disorders

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This article is from the free online course:

Young People and Their Mental Health

University of Groningen

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