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Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are mental disorders that are characterized by disordered eating habits that involve either insufficient or excessive food intake at the expense of physical and mental health of the individual. Bulimia and anorexia nervosa are the most common forms of eating disorders. Other types of eating disorders is the overeating disorder (binge eating) and Not Otherwise Identified Eating Disorder.

Bulimia Nervosa

In bulimia nervosa it can be found:

  • recurrent episodes of overeating (at least twice a week for a period of 3 months) during which large amounts of food are consumed in short periods of time.
  • persistent preoccupation with food and a strong desire or urge of a person to eat (craving)
  • patient’s attempt to compensate for the calories intake-consequences of eating with:
    • self-induced vomiting
    • laxative behaviors
    • alternating with periods of extreme fast and starvation
    • using drugs such as appetite suppressants and diuretics
  • There is a sense of self that the person is too fat and a deep fear of further gaining weight

Anorexia nervosa

In anorexia exists:

  • Weight loss at the point of at least 15% lower than expected based on their age and height.
  • Weight loss is accomplished by the same person avoiding “high caloric content” food.
  • There is a sense of self that the person is too fat, with a deep fear of gaining weight which leads to a self-imposed low weight.
  • Disorder of menstrual cycle in women and lack of sexual interest in men.

There are 2 types of patients of anorexia:

  • Restrictive type: In this type of anorexia nervosa, the person does not regularly show episodic overeating (binge eating) or clearance (e.g. self-caused vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas).
  • Type of episodic overeating/purge: in this type of anorexia nervosa, the person regularly displays behaviours of episodic overeating and purging (e.g. self-caused vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas).


Clinical experience shows that general medical management and support of these patients is essential as well as combination of Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapeutic interventions with elements psychoeducation and cognitive behavioural therapy. In earlier stages family therapy may be necessary.


  • Especially for the case of anorexia nervosa, other medical conditions that can occur with decreased appetite and weight loss such as cancer, tuberculosis, inflammatory bowel disorders, endocrine disorders, tumors of the the brain, AIDS should be ruled out.
  • Complications of anorexia nervosa can be severe enough as to impair hematopoiesis (leukopenia, lemfokyttarwsi), the acid-base balance (hypokalemia), the cardiovascular and nervous system due to electrolytic disorders, function. In extremely severe cases person’s life (coma or cardiac arrest) can be in danger.

“For the sick psyche, speech is the best treatment”

|Menandros 3rd Century BC|

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