While they are decidedly different practices, pervasive eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating all stem from unhealthy, distorted opinions regarding food consumption, weight, and weight loss.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by excessive weight loss and self-inflicted starvation, measures that anorexic individuals follow to mollify their fears of gaining weight. Bulimia is a cyclical practice constituted by binge eating and purging through excessive exercise, abuse of laxatives, or vomiting. Binge eating, the third disorder explored in this workbook, is slightly different from the other two. The concern of binge eaters is tremendous weight gain not weight loss. Binge eating is characterized by impulsive, unregulated consumption far beyond the point of fullness. Compulsive overeating, as it is also known, is often accompanied by shame and self-loathing and is typically a response to emotional anxiety such as loneliness or depression.
Between 5 and 10% of women and girls in the United States suffer from an eating disorder, and a further 15% eat in a disordered pattern. While these disorders have extreme biological effects, they are encouraged and made worse by negative emotions and cultural pressure. Eating disorders not only place one's body under tremendous physical strain, they damage one's mental stability and emotional well-being and lead to life-threatening consequences if left unaddressed.