An eating disorder is characterized by a distorted sense of a person’s own body image. There is an obsession with thinness and significant fear and anxiety about weight gain. There are many different forms of disordered eating. Anorexia nervosa primarily affects females and onset is generally during adolescences. Sufferers radically restrict their calorie intake leading to weight below healthy levels. Other complications such as amenorrhea in women (loss of period) and potentially death can occur if treatment and sufficient calorie consumption is not resumed. Bulimia nervosa includes episodes of compulsive or binge eating followed by potentially dangerous behaviours like self-induced vomiting and/or laxative use in order to purge the ingested food. A definitive cause of eating disorders is unknown but possible contributing factors may include peer pressure, low self-esteem, depression, and cultural or familiar attitudes toward the body.
Read about eating disorders and pregnancy here.