In the Western world, we often see Anorexia and Bulimia in up to around 6% of men and women. This is a very common disorder and one that is important to recognize to offer appropriate help. So, how does one define the difference between bulimia and anorexia to help understand how to offer people the right kind of support?
Below, we define the similarities and differences between these two disorders. As you read through, think about whether anyone you know might have these issues and if they might need help.
The Difference Between Bulimia and Anorexia
Before expanding on the differences, it is important to point out the similarities. So we can understand why people often mistake them.
Both are psychological conditions that affect the sufferer and often stem from issues of body image and low self-esteem. This can lead to a form of body dysmorphia that encourages people to act in unhealthy ways to achieve a level of perfection.
People can experience both bulimia and anorexia at different points in their life. They both involve eating behaviors that are harmful to the sufferer and lead to significant health risks.
Unique Bulimia Symptoms
The medical world defines Bulimia as cycles of binge eating followed by trying to prevent the food from affecting their body image. This “purging” might display in the form of vomiting, over-exercising, or misusing medications.
While bulimia sufferers may display a consistent average weight, they are likely to fluctuate high and low above that. On a psychological level, they are likely to have feelings of guilt and shame, often focused on their binge-purge cycle.
Unique Anorexia Symptoms
Anorexia is more related to the severe reduction in the amount of food someone eats. They are likely to have an extreme fear of gaining weight for any number of reasons and as such focus on “thinness” or low body mass.
Anorexia sufferers also often have a distorted body image. Believing themselves to be overweight when they are not. They are also likely to focus a lot on other physical flaws they see in themselves.
If someone plans their food intake to a very specific degree or arranges their food in certain ways, these may be signs of anorexia. Sufferers may even cut out specific foods, like carbohydrates, fats, and sugars, which a non-sufferer would use to fuel their body.
Bulimia and Anorexia Treatment
For both anorexia and bulimia treatment, it is sensible to seek out some kind of psychotherapy. This can help the person recognize the problem and start to take action to prevent the issue from dominating their life.
There are many treatment stages for eating disorder sufferers. These are close to how we treat any issue that requires some kind of intervention, including substance abuse or other habits.
The treatment demands a journey towards recognition of an issue and taking action by the person. After said treatment, it will also need ongoing maintenance and aftercare on the part of the sufferer to prevent backsliding.
By understanding the difference between bulimia and anorexia. You can ensure you can offer help. Still, you might want to know a little more about health disorders and ways to recognize them to be able to do this to the best of your ability. Our articles have information on many different health topics, and you can use these to brush up on your knowledge. So, check out our blog today for more insight.