Eating disorders are conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common specific forms. Other types of eating disorders include binge eating disorder and eating disorder not otherwise specified. Untreated eating disorders can result in severe medical complications and even death in certain cases. As scientific studies suggest that nearly one-in-twenty people will experience symptoms of an eating disorder at some point in their lives, proper diagnosis and treatment of these complex conditions is of critical importance.
Bulimia nervosa is a disorder characterized by binge eating and purging. Purging can include self-induce vomiting, over-exercising, and the usage of diuretics, enemas, and laxatives. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme food restriction to the point of self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder. The skill to comprehend the central processes of appetite has increased tremendously since leptin was discovered, and the skill to observe the functions of the brain as well. Interactions between motivational, homeostatic and self-regulatory control processes are involved in eating behavior, which is a key component in eating disorders.