Anorexia Nervosa vs. Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa vs Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa vs. Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa are two types of eating disorders, which are a set of illnesses that will affect tens of millions of Americans during their lifetimes. Previously, specialists have been unable to single out any cause behind the development of eating disorders, though they now generally agree that it is actually various biological, sociocultural, and genetic factors that may predispose some individuals to developing them.

There are many myths surrounding eating disorders, but it is important to remember that anyone can be affected by them regardless of their gender, age, or background. such as who develops them


Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder in which individuals tend to restrict how many calories they consume and what kinds of food they eat. They could also exercise compulsively, binge eat, or even purge via induced vomiting or the use of laxatives. Someone can be struggling with anorexia and not appear underweight, making it a disease that cannot be diagnosed just by looking at someone.

Anorexia can also be be characterized by:

  • In growing children, a lack of appropriate weight gain
  • A distorted body image
  • Having a hard time keeping an appropriate body weight for one’s age and stature
  • Weight loss


Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which individuals place themselves in a cycle of binge eating and compensatory behaviors, which could include self-inducing vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics. During a typical binge eating session, someone will feel out of control as they consume a large amount of food during a relatively short amount of time. 


Potential Health Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

Both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have many potential side effects, some of which are long-term or may even result in death. 

When an individual suffering from anorexia puts their body through a harmful cycle of self-starvation, their body is being deprived of the nutrients it needs to normally function. The body will, in turn, slow down its own processes in the interest of conserving energy, which can lead to severe medical consequences. Such medical consequences include electrolyte imbalances or cardiac arrest, two issues which can result in sudden death. 

Someone who is suffering from bulimia nervosa is putting their body through dangerous cycles of binge eating followed by purging, which can ravage the digestive system. Similar to anorexia, bulimia may lead to cardiac issues as well as electrolyte and chemical imbalances that may lead to sudden death. 


Getting Help

Eating disorders are severe, but they are treatable. If you find yourself in a time of crisis, you can text  “NEDA” to 741-741 to be put in touch with a properly trained individual at any time. There are also several eating disorder helplines you can contact at your leisure; many will accept messages and get back to you as soon as possible if you are unable to reach them immediately.

If you are experiencing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or another type of disordered eating, we can also help you here at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. You can reach us via phone (866-525-2766), email, or by filling out our contact form.