Here you can find basic information on eating disorders – mental anorexia, bulimia and binge overeating, how you can recognize them in yourselves or in others, and what you can do after finding such a disorder.

Eating disorders

These are a group of conditions including mental anorexia (food refusal), bulimia (binge eating and vomiting) – and also overeating linked to other mental disorders like stress. Eating disorders (ED) are characterized by fear of obesity, food manipulation in order to reduce weight, and distorted perception of one´s own body.

ED are mental diseases. This means that an ill person is unable to control the behaviour associated with anorexia or bulimia from a certain stage and is thus incapable of getting rid of the disease without assistance of others.

The disease is often accompanied by loss of interest in social contacts with peers (foremost in anorexia), loss of concentration and moodiness. Food and one´s figure become centrepoints of proper interest.

Extreme observance of one´s figure

Intense fear of weight gain – frequent control of body weight – distorted perception of one´s own body.

Mental anorexia

The disorder emerges most often in puberty and adolescence and affects girls in 95%. It is characterized by:

1. Refusal to maintain body weight on or above minimum weight with regard to age and height, BMI (Body Mass Index) falls under 17,5. The low weight is caused by the patient herself – refusal to eat, exercise, vomiting or use of laxatives.

2. Intense fear of weight gain despite underweight.

3. Denial of being underweight, distorted perception of one´s body – the patient considers herself normal or fat despite being underweight.

4. Body weight or proportions have an inappropriate influence on self-confidence.

5. Amenorrhea in girls and women of fertile age – absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.

Mental bulimia

The disorder affect foremost girls and women in adolescence. It is characterized by:

1. Constant occupation with food, irresistible craving for food and binge eating.

2. Efforts to minimize the effect of food on weight by vomiting, temporary fasting or laxatives.

3. Pathological fear of fatness, low self-esteem excessively dependent on looks and weight.

Binge eating

The disorder affects both sexes and may develop since adolescence in any age. A common cause is an unbalanced diet that may also be due to various reduction diets. Frequent consequences are weight gain, depressions, discontent with oneself. The disorder is characterized by:

1. Unbalanced diet – considerable restriction of food intake (even fasting) or monotonous diet alternates with irresistible obsessive desire to eat too much. Such states are not exceptional, on the contrary, they repeat with certain regularity.

2. After the „attack“ of food consumption, there are usually physically unpleasant feelings due to overeating, but without vomiting.

3. The growing weight is accompanied by increasing unhappiness with oneself and by various efforts to limit the food intake.

4. The disorder rather frequently develops as a reaction to stress, emotional deprivation or depressive mood.