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Obese, want to lose weight. Difference between bulimia and anorexia?

what is the difference between bulimia and anorexia? i m thinking of making myself sick after eating. i know it s bad but i just can t help it, i know i m fat for my age and i don t know how else to change it anymore. i understand it can cause lots of problems, but i wont let it get that bad. i ll just lose a stone or 2 and then stop. please help me.
Asked On : Sun, 3 Jun 2012
Answers:  2 Views:  71
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Dietitian & Nutritionist 's  Response
Hi Jen, Welcome to HCM.

Anorexia and Bulimia seem similar, however, they have few distinct characteristics. In bulimia, which is majorly seen in teenagers, one tends to eat well and then go and induce vomiting to avoid the food being absorbed by the body. There is a constant tendency to eat and then puke. In anorexia, one tend to avoid eating due to the fear of gaining weight and has a constacnt check on the calories consumed. They tend to eat very very less than what the body requires. Therefore, this leads to fatigue, depression etc. In Bulimia, there is more tendency to eat well and then throw up. Both the conditions are eating disorders and should not be followed. A healthy weight loss solution is to eat a balanced meal along with a lot of fluids, fruits and vegtables and sufficient exercise. You should try to read through more about healthy eating and change the eating habits as early as possible.

Good luck!!!
Answered: Mon, 4 Jun 2012
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Psychiatrist Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar's  Response
Hi and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your question...

Before I answer your question about the differences between anorexia and bulimia, let me remind you that none is better than the other and both of them can result in serious adverse health consequences.

In anorexia nervosa, the predominant feature is a refusal to maintain a minimally normal weight for age and height (usually less than 85% of ideal body weight). In bulimia, the predominant feature is eating binges, followed by regular compensatory measures such as purging (self-induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives) or non-purging behaviours (strenuous exercise, using stimulants, starving) in order to get rid of the excess calories gained during these binges. Bulimics are usually of normal weight or slightly overweight.

The common denominator in anorexia and bulimia is an intense fear of weight gain and disturbance in the way one's body weight or shape is perceived. Both disorders can be accompanied by metabolic or hormonal disturbances, medical complications, as well as psychological symptoms like depression / anxiety.

In your case, with the limited history that you have given, there seem to be two warning bells, which need further exploration and assessment: 1) your worry or pre-occupation about being fat and 2) your plans of self-induced vomiting.

Moreover the reason why you should NOT think of vomiting as a means to lose weight is:
1) Vomiting is by no way a healthy option to lose weight and recurrent vomiting can result in various medical complications like dental problems, esophageal and stomach problems, salt imbalances in your body, etc. etc.
2) Before you realize it, this can become a reinforcing behaviour (i.e. habitual) and you may find it difficult to control it later on.

If you are beginning to wonder whether you have an eating problem or are worried about your eating / weight loss habits, please don't hesitate to consult a psychiatrist. Remember, the earlier you recognise that you may have a problem and avoid such unhealthy practices, the better is the outcome.

All the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Answered: Mon, 11 Jun 2012
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