On the other hand, Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating unusually large amount of foods (Gotlieb, 2000). At this period, one has lack of control over eating that is followed by purging behaviours such as vomiting, fasting, use of water pills or excessive habits (Nitcher, 2000).
Binge disorder is characterized by recurrent eating episodes (Gotlieb, 2000). A person feels a loss of control, as in Bulimia. However, unlike Bulimia, Binge eating episodes are not followed by excessive exercise or fasting. People with Bulimia often have normal body weights unlike those with Anorexia who are intensely dissatisfied with their bodies. Anorexia may be a less chronic illness than either Binge or Bulimia eating disorders (Nitcher, 2000). The average duration for anorexia is 1.7 years while that of people with Bulimia or Binge disorder is about 7 years (Nitcher, 2000).
Anorexia/Bulimia is characterized by different types of symptoms which include; dramatic weight loss in a relatively small period of time, a person notices a change in their weight, one begins to wear buggy clothing or dressing in layers to hide the body shape and/or weight loss, one also becomes obsessed with weight and begins to complain of weight problems (Nitcher, 2000). Another symptom is that one becomes obsessed with calories and fat contents of the food and also obsession with continuous exercise (Gotlieb, 2000).
A person suffering from Anorexia will make frequent trips to the bathroom immediately following meals (sometimes accompanied with water running the bathroom for a long time to hide the sound of vomiting) (Nitcher, 2000). There are also visible food restrictions and self-starvation by the victims. Visible bingeing and/or purging can also be evident (Nitcher, 2000).
When one is suffering from Anorexia she tends to isolate herself (Gotlieb, 2000). This is because of the fear of eating around with other people. You can also notice unusual food rituals such as shifting the food around the plate to make it look as if it is eaten, cutting food to tiny pieces, chewing food and spitting it out (Nitcher, 2000). The victim also tends to hide food in strange places to avoid eating (Anorexia) or to eat at a later time (Bulimia).
The victim is preoccupied mostly with thoughts of food, weight and cooking (Gotlieb, 2000). Visits to the websites that promote unhealthy ways to lose weight can also be made by the victim. She tends to read books about weight loss and eating disorders (Nitcher, 2000).
People with Anorexia tend to have hair loss and have a grey appearance on the skin (Francis, 1995). One usually experiences frequent dizziness and headaches, frequent sore throats and swelling glands (Francis, 1995). They tend to have low self-esteem about themselves.
They like putting themselves down and complaining that they are too stupid or too fat that they do not matter, hence they need self-acceptance and approval from others. They often complain of feeling cold and also having poor sleeping habits (insomnia). Other symptoms include low blood pressure, loss of menstrual cycles and loss of sexual desires (Francis, 1995).
On the other hand, compulsive overeating or Binge eating disorder is characterized by symptoms such as; the fear of not being able to control eating, and when eating one is not able to stop (Francis, 1995). One also tends to be in isolation. She fears being seen eating around with others, hiding of food in strange places, for example, closets, cabinets and suitcases so that she can eat at a later time (Francis, 1995).
The victim also has vague or secretive eating habits and one holds on to the belief that food is only her best friend. People with Anorexia often tend to be frequently out of breath after relatively light activities and they usually experience excessive sweating and shortness of breath (Nitcher, 2000).