The term anorexia is Greek for "lack of appetite."  Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by extremely low body weight and a distorted body image.  It is an obsessive fear of gaining weight.  Those who suffer from this have low self esteem and often have a desire to control their surroundings and emotions.  Anorexics control their body weight by starving themselves and purging.  It may also include excessive exercise or the use/abuse of diet aids and other types of drugs to lose weight. Mortality rates due to Anorexia are "12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15-24 years old."


Bulimia is an eating disorder in which a person eats a lot of food in a short amount of time, called binging, and then attempts to "undo" the binge by getting rid of the food, called purging.  Some ways a person tries to purge is by self-induced-vomiting, taking laxatives, not eating for periods of time, excessive exercise, and taking pills to urinate.  Those suffering from Bulimia may seek episodes of binging and purging to avoid and let out feelings of anger, depression, stress or anxiety.



Binge Eating

Binge eating is consuming an unusually large quantity of food in a short period of time (less than 2 hours) uncontrollably, past the point of being comfortably full.  Feelings of guilt and shame or self-hatred may be present following a binge.  Sufferers are usually overweight and have trouble maintaining average healthy weights.  Unlike Bulimia, they do not purge following a Binge episode.

Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive Overeating is characterized as an "addiction" to food.  People suffering with this disorder use food and eating as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stress and problems in their lives.  They lack control over how much they eat and when they eat.  Compulsive eaters tend to be overweight and are at risk for heart attacks, high blood-pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease an failure, arthritis and strokes.  It is similar to binge eating, when someone consumes an unusually large amount of food in a short time, but this is a consistent eating pattern.