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Diagnosis and Medical Complications

Anorexia Nervosa

  • 15% below expected body weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though under weight
  • Disturbance in the experience of one's body weight or shape, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight
  • The absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles

Anorexia, Restricting Type

During current episode of Anorexia, the person has not regularly engaged in binge eating or purging behavior

Anorexia, Binge Eating/Purging Type

During current episode of Anorexia, the person has regularly engaged in binge eating and purging behavior

Additional Physical Symptoms and Medical Complications of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Dry, Brittle Skin
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Hair Loss, Thinning Hair
  • Cold Hands and Feet
  • Growth of Lanugo (fine hair on body surface)
  • Lightheadedness, Fainting
  • Heart Failure (deterioration of muscle tissue)

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating
  • Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, ex. Self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise.
  • Binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months
  • Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight

Bulimia, Purging Type

During current episode of Bulimia, the person has regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxative, diuretics, or enemas

Bulimia, Non-Purging Type

During current episode of Bulimia, the person has used other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, but has not regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxative, diuretics, or enemas

Physical Symptoms and Medical Complications of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Swollen Glands in Neck or Face
  • Dental Problems, Enamel Erosion
  • Sore Throat, Irritated Esophagus
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Electrolyte Imbalance/Low Potassium (can cause heart attack)
  • Red, Cracked Corners of the Mouth
  • Index Finger Abrasions from Inducing Vomiting

Binge Eating Disorder

No compensatory behaviors in response to binge eating

Sub-Clinical Disordered Eating

Excessive preoccupation with food and weight may binge, purge, or compensate in various ways including excessive exercise, but frequency of any compensatory behaviors (if present), is less than 2 times per week over three months.

Self-Assessment:

  • What percent of the day you are thinking about food, (what you are or are not going to eat, or what you have already eaten), calories, fat content of foods, or not being able to eat the foods you want?
  • What percentage of the waking day on average do you spend thinking about your weight and shape (thinking you are fat, gaining weight, or have too much fat in places)?

Answers greater than 25% on either question indicate that you are above the average for typical college women. Answers greater than 50% suggest clinically significant eating concerns that should be evaluated.

Additional Medical Concerns Found Across Disordered Eating

  • Abnormal Sleep Patterns
  • Chronic Intestinal Problems
  • Rapid Weight Change / Fluctuation
  • Constipation
  • Weakness, Exhaustion
  • Chronic Kidney Problems
  • Irregular Heart Rhythms
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Dark Circles Under Eyes