Two types of eating disorders are discussed: anorexia and bulimia.

Anorexia is diagnosed when individuals do not maintain a minimally normal body weight. Such individuals are very afraid of gaining weight and view parts of their body as too big (such as buttocks and thighs), whereas others may see them as emaciated.

Bulimia refers to binge eating and inappropriate methods of preventing weight gain. Binge eating includes excessive consumption of food at meals or other times, such as eating an entire box of cookies or a half gallon of ice cream.

Inappropriate methods of controlling weight gain include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or enemas, or excessive fasting or exercise. Individuals with bulimia often are of normal weight. Some individuals have experienced both anorexia and bulimia at various times in their lives.