the disorders

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eating disorder not otherwise specified (ed-nos) : this is basically the catch-all for disordered eating that doesn't fit into any other category. it can be
someone who is just developing or recovering from an eating disorder;
who has anorexic behaviors but is not yet underweight by clinical standards or who has not yet lost her period;
who binges and purges but does not meet the frequency or duration requirements for a diagnosis of bulimia;
who regularly chews and spits out food without following but meet any other ed criteria;
or any other kind of disorder that doesn't quite meet all of the technical criteria to be diagnosed with a different disorder.
many people don't even know that ed-nos is a diagnosis, and many who do know what it is don't take it seriously. a person with an ed-nos usually knows something is unusual about their eating behavior, but may not be able to specify what kind of disorder it is. they may feel like an anoretic one day, compulsive overeater the next, bulimic the next, and back to an anoretic a few days later. although many people think eating disorders are all about weight, they are actually about your behavior and thought patterns regarding food and eating...you can be anorexic even if you're at a healthy weight or overweight, and you can be a compulsive eater and be at a healthy weight or underweight. eating habits will eventually show their impact on body weight, and this is a factor in how doctors diagnose eating disorders (however i believe that you can be anorexic without being clinically underweight, etc.).

anorexia nervosa ("ana") : this disorder is characterized by significant weight loss and/or restricted food intake along with a disturbed body image. to be diagnosed as anorexic, one must be at least 15% below their normal expected body weight, but that is only a guideline. someone who behaves like an anorectic may not yet be underweight and would therefore be diagnosed as ed-nos. symptoms of anorexia are severe restriction of food (calorie, fat..) intake, fear of gaining weight or getting fat, disturbance in body image, females losing their period, low body temperature, low heart rate, low blood pressure, lanugo (soft, downy body hair), sometimes binge-eating, purging, overexercising, use of laxatives, ipecac, diet pills, diuretics or enemas. physical problems include metabolic difficulties, possible kidney failure, dizziness or fainting, poor circulation, hair loss, significantly decreased estrogen in women, imbalanced electrolytes, malnutrition and potentially death.

bulimia nervosa ("mia") : bulimia is defined as episodes of binge eating followed by "compensation" such as forced vomiting (purging), laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting, or overexercising. symptoms of bulimia include frequent binge eating, feeling out of control about overeating, purging, using laxatives or diuretics, strict dieting, fasting or vigorous exercise to prevent weight gain, judging oneself by body shape or weight. a bulimic's weight can vary, increasing and decreasing because of irregular binging and fasting or other kind of extreme purging. physical changes and problems include menstrual irregularity, salt and fluid imbalance, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and loss, hair loss, swollen glands and face, severe tooth decay, ripped esophagus and sore throat because of stomach acid. the stomach acid eating away at the esophagus can cause gastric rupture (=immediate death). abuse of ipecac can also cause death. long term problems can be the development of gastro-esophagul reflux disease, even after total recovery, a bulimic or "ex"-bulimic may not be able to eat without a gag reflex making them vomit without trying. abuse of laxatives or diuretics can create addictions and problems having a bowel movement without the pills.

binge-eating disorder : this disorder is similar to bulimia, but without the purging. it is characterized by a feeling of no control over regular binge eating. many people dismiss binge eating as a sheer lack of control, and not a disorder. what makes this a psychologican disorder rather than just a lack of self-control is the thought process, not necessarily the observable behaviors. symptoms of binge eating are eating a huge amount of food in a short amount of time, a sense of lack of control over eating, eating rapidly, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not physically hungry, eating alone because of embarassment and shame, and feeling disgusted and guilty after a binge. a binge eater can develop high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease. an extreme potential is bursting of the stomach after severely overeating.

compulsive overeating disorder : compulsive eating is known as an addiction to food. it is characterized by constant overeating and thoughts about eating. symptoms of compulsive overeaters are similar to that of binge eaters: a feeling of no control over eating, fear of eating around others because of embarassment, many unsuccessful diet attempts, believing happiness will come with weight loss, feeling guilt after eating, feeling hot all the time, shortness of breath, and blaming bad things on being overweight. physical problems associated with this disorder are usually weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. compulsive overeaters, as well as binge eaters, are usually caught in a cycle of overeating or binging and then dieting attempts. these attempts are shortlived, because the compulsive eater will become frustrated without quick weight loss or unable to break the cycle because of longlived habits.

night eating disorder : recently declared a disorder, night eating disorder is a kind of binge eating disorder that is usually characterized by "morning anorexia", binging at night and insomnia. this can be caused by an attempt at restricting food intake which doesn't last all day because of emotions or physical deprivation.

orthorexia nervosa : this disorder is similar to anorexia. the orthorexia strives to have a perfect, "pure" diet: restricting to eat only organic or other high-quality foods. usually when this strict diet is not followed perfectly, the orthorexic, like the anorexic or bulimic, will punish themself with more self-discipline and sometimes fasting.


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