What is Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa?
the causes are not clear, worrying numbers of people -- most of
them young women -- develop potentially life-threatening eating
disorders. People with bulimia, known as bulimics, indulge in
bingeing (episodes of eating large amounts of food) and purging
(expelling food by vomiting or using laxatives). People with anorexia,
whom doctors refer to as anorectics, severely limit their food
intake. Half of those who are anorexic also have bulimic symptoms.
1994, about 9,000 people were admitted to hospital and diagnosed
with bulimia while about 8,000 were diagnosed with anorexia (estimates
by the National Center for Health Statistics). Studies have indicated
that by their college freshman year, 4.5 to 18 percent of women
and 0.4 percent of men have a history of bulimia and that as many
as 1 in 100 females between the ages of 12 and 18 have anorexia.
90-95 percent of bulimia and anorexia cases are women and while
people of all races develop the disorders, the overwhelming majority
of those diagnosed are white.
In most cases, professional help is needed for people to stop
their anorexic or bulimic behaviour. Otherwise, the problem may
become chronic and cause serious health problems, even death.
Sometimes, anti-depressants are prescribed to people with these
eating disorders and in 1996, the FDA added the treatment of bulimia
to the indications for the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine).
American Anorexia/Bulimia Association says that about 1,000 women
die of anorexia each year. More specifically, the National Center
for Health Statistics reports that "anorexia" or "anorexia nervosa"
was the underlying cause of death noted on 101 death certificates
in 1994 and was mentioned as one of multiple causes of death on
another 2,657 death certificates. That year, bulimia was noted
as the underlying cause of death on two death certificates and
mentioned as one of several causes on 64 others.
Next: What causes eating disorders?