What is Anorexia with Purging?

What is Anorexia with Purging?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious type of eating disorder in which individuals tend to restrict the types of food they eat as well as their caloric intake. Psychologists and historians have uncovered evidence that people have been showing signs of anorexia for hundreds–or perhaps even thousands–of years.

Subtypes of Anorexia

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

  • Hallmarks of the restricting subtype are the restriction of how much food eaten and what types consumed. These behaviors could also be coupled with excessive exercise.
  • Hallmarks of the binge eating and purging subtype include food restriction, binge eating, and purging. Binge eating involves eating a large amount of food while feeling a loss of control, and purging involves engaging in compensatory behavior after eating that could involve misusing enemas, laxatives, and/or diuretics and/or self-induced vomiting.

Physical signs of Anorexia’s Binge Eating and Purging Subtype

Physical signs that could suggest someone is suffering from the binge eating and purging subtype of anorexia may include:

  • Calluses and cuts across the tops of one’s finger joints
  • Swelling around the salivary glands
  • Dental issues including tooth sensitivity, cavities, tooth discoloration, and enamel erosion

There are also a host of other potential physical signs, such as: 

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor wound healing
  • Sleep issues
  • Fainting
  • Impaired immune system functioning
  • Yellow skin from eating lots of carrots
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Swollen feet
  • Thinning hair on one’s head
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms such as acid reflux or constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Constantly feeling cold
  • Lanugo, or fine hair on the body
  • Dry skin
  • dry/brittle nails
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Cold, mottled hands and feet
  • Abnormal bloodwork results such as low counts or anemia
  • Abnormal laboratory findings such as low hormone levels, slow heart rate, low potassium

Anorexia Nervosa’s Health Risks

Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa subject their bodies to a dangerous cycle of self-starvation that denies them of nutrients they need in order to function properly. The body will, in turn, slow down all of its processes in order to save energy; this could lead to sudden death due to cardiac arrest or electrolyte imbalances, emphasizing the importance of obtaining treatment. 

Who Develops Anorexia?

Anorexia is a disease that can strike anyone regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ethnicity. No specialist can diagnose the disease simply by looking at an individual, as people suffering from anorexia nervosa don’t always look emaciated or underweight. While anorexia is a disease that tends to appear during one’s adolescence, specialists are now diagnosing more and more children and older adults with it. 

Getting Help

Help is available for anorexia nervosa and other types of eating disorders. One such way to receive help is by reaching out to an eating disorder hotline; many places offer options to text, call, or even instant message with trained professionals. However, if you or someone you love is in a crisis, you can text “NEDA” to 741-741 and you will be put in touch with a trained volunteer at any time. Furthermore, Eating Disorder Hope has an interactive map that can be used to locate eating disorder treatment on a state-by-state basis. Additionally, we are here to help you at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. You can reach us via phone (866-525-2766), email, or by filling out our contact form.

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