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While anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both deadly eating disorders, there can be key differences. By understanding the differences and similarities between these two disorders, you can help recognize if you or a loved one is in need of help. It’s important to remember that many individuals might not fit neatly in one category or the other and might instead a mix of symptoms of both disorders.


Let’s start by defining both disorders. Anorexia nervosa is classified by a refusal to maintain an appropriate weight for your age and height. It’s characterized by an intense fear of growing fat and a distorted body image. Bulimia, on the other hand is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by purging episodes. During these episodes, it’s common for individuals with bulimia to experience a lack of self-control. Anorexics and bulimics often use diuretics and laxatives in an attempt to control their weight.

Anorexia and bulimia have different signs and symptoms. Here are some anorexia symptoms and bulimia symptoms so that you can help recognize if you or someone you might have one of these eating disorders.

Anorexia Symptoms:

  • Avoids meals
  • Excessive exercise
  • Calorie counting
  • Takes diet pills
  • Feel cold
  • Experiences frequent sensations of dizziness
  • Shows dry skin or thinning hair
  • Has an unhealthy obsession with their weight
  • Acts depressed and has extreme mood changes


Bulimia Symptoms:

  • Frequently visits the bathroom (in order to purge)
  • Has a puffy face
  • Eats excessively large portions
  • Has discolored or stained teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling in the fingers
  • Callouses and cuts on the knuckles or back of the hands
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive exercise
  • Depression


If you are exhibiting the symptoms of anorexia or bulimia, it’s very possible that you are in need of treatment. Eating disorders can be deadly but with the right treatment, you can develop the skills that they need to enjoy a lifetime of physical and mental health. If you suspect that someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, it is important to talk to them about it. Anorexia and bulimia are both deadly and without treatment for their conditions, they could die. At Rader Programs we have successfully treated many people with anorexia and bulimia. Hope is on the horizon.