Anorexia nervosa is considered a major problem for both physical and mental health. It affects young women more often (90% are of the female sex).
It is characterized by the refusal to maintain the body weight at a minimally normal weight, intense fear of weight gain and distorted body image. It is often accompanied by amenorrhea.
There are two clinical types of anorexia nervosa: the restricting type where the person restricts their food intake and the binge eating/purging type where, apart from the poor and messy diet, we see other behaviours, such as self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, diuretics, enemas as well as excessive exercise.
Similar to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa is more common in women in industrial societies.
It is characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating during which the person receives a disproportionately large amount of food in a short amount of time. To avoid weight gain, patients have compensatory behaviours, such as self-induced vomiting, use of anorectic drugs, use of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, fasting and excessive exercise.