Anorexia Nervosa vs Bulimia Nervosa: What Are the Differences?

Over twenty million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, and numbers are rising. But, not all eating disorders are the same. So, how do you differentiate between types of eating disorders, in order to get the treatment you need?

Well, we can help. Read on to find out about the differences between anorexia nervosa vs bulimia nervosa.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where a person avoids eating in order to lose weight or prevent weight gain.  Anorexia often develops early on in a person’s teenage years. Many people with anorexia are also struggling with depression and/or anxiety, which feeds into their anorexia.

Some symptoms of anorexia include loss of menstruation, muscle weakness, memory loss, secretive eating habits, and constantly going on fad diets.

Treatment for anorexia depends on the severity of the condition and the age of the person. For very severe cases, treatment for physical symptoms might be necessary before psychological treatment can begin.

There are also outpatient treatment options. Group therapy can be one good tool for younger patients. Anorexia patients can also work with a nutritionist to help them develop healthy eating habits.

What Is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervousa is also based around a fear of gaining weight, but it usually shows itself in different ways.

Bulimia is usually presented by a person consuming large amounts of food (binging) and then trying to rid their body of it in unsafe ways. Some people may make themselves throw up to rid their bodies of the calories.

Bulimia tends to develop later on in a person’s teenage years than anorexia does.

If you suspect a loved one might have bulimia, pay attention to their habits. People with bulimia may head to the bathroom quickly after finish a meal, in order to rid themselves of their meal more quickly.

Bulimia can result in other health problems. Side effects of bulimia include constant weight fluctuations, busted blood vessels in a person’s eyes or on their hands, and teeth deterioration. Many people with bulimia are within a normal weight range, so being underweight isn’t necessarily a red flag for bulimia.

Similarities Between Bulimia and Anorexia

Notably, bulimia and anorexia are both tricky to recover from, but anorexia tends to be a lot more problematic for physical health than bulimia in the long term. But, there are also a lot of similarities between the two conditions.

People with either anorexia or bulimia might also struggle with substance abuse problems. People with any eating disorder are often also suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa vs Bulimia Nervosa: Now You Know

Hopefully, you now understand the difference between anorexia nervosa vs bulimia nervosa, so you can watch out for warning signs in yourself and in your loved ones.

Do you need more help with your health? We’ve got you covered. some of our other posts can point you in the right direction.

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