Peace and Healing

A Perspective of Traditional and Non-Traditional Methods of Healing



Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

There are two subtypes of eating disorders:

  1. The restricting type, which describes individuals whose weight loss occurs primarily through dieting, fasting and excessive exercise.
  2. Binge eating, and then purging.

According to the DSM IV, anorexia nervosa is a refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating, following by inappropriate compensatory behavior such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, as well as fasting or excessive exercising.

More specific diagnostic guidelines:

  1. Body weight is maintained at least 15% below normal.
  2. The weight loss is self-induced.
  3. Purging and exercise.
  4. There is a gross body image distortion which borders on psychosis. There are delusional components to this. When an affected individual looks in the mirror, they clearly view themselves as overweight.
  5. Clear endocrine disorder involving the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, where women have amenorrhea.
  6. Intense fear of gaining weight.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders has a hotline. Please call 847-831-3438 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. central time for further information.