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Other eating disorders

BMJ Group Medical Reference

There are two other eating disorders that are rather like anorexia. One is bulimia and the other is binge-eating disorder. Sometimes people get the three illnesses confused.


People with bulimia binge on food regularly. (A doctor will say that someone who binges at least twice a week for at least three months has bulimia.) To binge on food means to eat a lot more than most people would in a short period of time.

If you have bulimia, you feel you don't have control over what or how much you eat during the binge. You may then vomit or take laxatives (called purging) to stop gaining weight. Some people do other things to stop putting on weight, like not eating at all (called fasting) or exercising more than is usual or healthy. [5]

Like people with anorexia, people with bulimia worry too much about their weight. This affects the way they feel about themselves. One big difference is that people with bulimia don't think they're fat when they're actually thin. People with anorexia do.

There's another big difference between anorexia and bulimia. People with bulimia are often normal weight. People with anorexia are very underweight because they eat so little. To learn more, see Bulimia.

Binge-eating disorder

If you regularly binge on large amounts of food, you may have binge-eating disorder. You binge, and then put weight on. You don't try to get rid of the calories by vomiting, taking laxatives or pills that make you lose water from your body, or exercising.

Having a binge-eating disorder can make you hate yourself. Treatment is similar to the treatment for bulimia. About a third of people with binge-eating disorder are boys or men.


For references related to Anorexia click here.
Last Updated: September 19, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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