The Binge Purge Subtype of Anorexia

The Binge Purge Subtype of Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is a serious type of eating disorder in which individuals tend to restrict the types of food and amount of calories they consume. Individuals suffering with anorexia nervosa may also exercise compulsively, binge eat, and purge through the use of laxatives or diuretics and self-induced vomiting.


Other hallmarks of anorexia nervosa may include:

  • Being an abnormally low weight for someone of their age and stature
  • Having a distorted body image
  • Losing weight
  • Being unable to gain enough weight (in growing children)

Who Develops Anorexia?

Anorexia is a disease that cannot be diagnosed just by looking at someone; an individual does not have to appear emaciated or be underweight to be struggling with the illness. It is a disease that can affect anyone regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Specialists have uncovered evidence pointing to individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa for hundreds or even thousands of years. And while anorexia nervosa tends to begin in someone’s adolescence, more and more older adults and children are being diagnosed with the disease as well.

Subtypes of Anorexia

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration lists two major subtypes of anorexia nervosa:

  • People who have the binge eating and purging subtype severely restrict how much and what types of food they eat, but also purge their food and may even binge eat as well. Hallmarks of a binge eating episode include feeling out of control while eating a large amount of food; purging behavior’s hallmarks is engaging in compensatory behavior after eating that may involve misusing enemas, laxatives, and/or diuretics and/or self-inducing vomiting.
  • People with the restricting subtype also restrict how much food they eat and what types they consume; these behaviors may be coupled with exercising in excess.

What are the Risks Associated with Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa can come with a host of different risks. Some may include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Heart issues, such as cardiac abnormalities and sudden cardiac arrest
  • Menstrual irregularities or halting
  • Anemia, or iron deficiency
  • Osteoporosis, or a weakening of the bones that leaves them prone to breaks and fractures
  • An increased risk of infertility in both men and women
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain
  • Having a compromised immune system, leaving someone susceptible to illness

Anorexia nervosa can also prove fatal; this is why seeking treatment as early as possible is important.

Getting Help

While anorexia nervosa is a serious disorder that can cause a host of issues or even result in death, help is available. One such way to do so is by contacting an eating disorder hotline. Eating Disorder Hope also offers an interactive map that you can use to locate eating disorder treatment in any state, listing up to several resources for each.

If you or a loved one is experiencing an eating disorder, you may wish to contact one of the aforementioned eating disorder helplines. And while eating disorders are indeed severe illnesses, they are also treatable. If you find yourself in a crisis, you can text “NEDA” to 741-741 at any time to be put in touch with a properly trained individual. Additionally, we can 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.