Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia

Dr.Paula Goel, Pediatrician & Adolescent Specialist

Anorexia: Is a condition when an individual has a propensity to miss meals, goes on an extremely restrictive diet and unhealthy diets, has an obsession with thinness, weight and food, and irregular eating patterns or rituals. Weight is less than minimally expected” in anorexia nervosa, food consumption is reduced, and there are disturbances in the way weight and form are perceived. The individual complains about weight and/or body often/or repetitively.

Bulimia: In the form of binging or overeating, bulimia introduces itself, accompanied by purging, either by induced/forceful vomiting or by laxatives. A child may suffer concurrently from both disorders; one may also suffer from body dysmorphia and see herself as “fat,” even though extremely underweight.

The following are some of the pointers to the feeding disorders in your child:

  • Feeding or consuming small portions
  • Intense anxiety about being overweight
  • Distorted view of the body
  • Strenuous exercises (for more than an hour)
  • Hoarding and concealing food
  • Feeding secretly
  • Runs away immediately after meals, sometimes to the bathroom
  • Significant weight modifications, both up and down
  • Withdrawal from social affairs
  • Depression
  • Irritableness
  • Weight loss concealed by wearing bulky clothing 
  • Cramps of the stomach
  • Menstrual problems, cycles absent
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling cold a chilly all the time
  • Problems with sleep
  • Cuts and calluses around the finger joints at the far end (from sticking finger down throat to cause vomiting)
  • Thinning of head hair, dry, and delicate hair
  • Cavities due to vomiting, or decoloration of teeth
  • Cold, mottled, or swollen hands and feet
  • Signs of anxiety or depression You should be alarmed if these symptoms are present in your children, particularly in adolescents.

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