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The facts on eating disorders

Percentage of Men and Women Aged 12-35 With Eating Disorders

Compulsive Over-Eating

  • Often called binge-eating disorder
  • Eats abnormal amounts of food at a sitting, than that of a normal serving
  • Episodes of compulsive overeating
  • Often eats alone and very quickly, whether they feel hungry or full
  • Feelings of shame or guilt often occur
  • To be diagnosed, episodes must occur at least 2 times a week on average, for over 6 months
  • Patient lacks control over their eating habits
  • To get help, those with the disorder are advised to attend counselling as well as visit a nutritionist
  • Rarely is an individual ever hospitalised

Anorexia and Bulimia

  • Anorexia nervosa - avoids food and meals, weighs their food and continually counts calories
  • Have extremely excessive exercising routines
  • Bulimia nervosa - eat excessive amounts of food in a single episode, than that of a normal serving
  • Make themselves vomit or use laxatives; diuretics or enemas (binge/purge cycle)
  • Both anorexic and bulimic sufferers have intense fears of gaining weight
  • To be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, the individual must weigh at least 15% less than the average weight for their age/height
  • Experience irregular menstrual cycles (female)
  • Have at least 2 binge/purge cycles a week for 6 months or more
  • Obsessed with body shape and image
  • To get help, those with the disorder are sent to counselling, (often Psychiatric and Psychological) as well as a nutritionist
  • In severe situations, the individual is institutionalised/hospitalised into an eating disorder facility, followed by intense counselling and frequent visits with nutritionists and Doctors


Disorder Physical Side Effects Mental Side Effects
Over Eating
  • high blood and cholesterol levels
  • fatigue, joint pain
  • type II diabetes
  • gallbladder and heart disease
  • depression
  • low heart rate and blood pressure
  • heart failure, brain damage
  • brittle hair, nails and bones
  • dry, yellow skin
  • anaemia - infertility
  • death
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • suicide
  • depression
  • acid from vomiting wears down teeth, oesophagus
  • chemical imbalance
  • heart failure
  • death
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • suicide
  • depression

Weight Concern of Males and Females 2005-2006


The South African Despression and Anxiety Group
Cresent Clinic

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