Anorexia Nervosa Vs Bulimia Nervosa: What are the Differences and Similarities between these eating disorders

Anorexia Nervosa Vs Bulimia Nervosa: What are the Differences and Similarities between these eating disorders?


Cardiovascular, respiratory or neural diseases are not the only complex conditions that affect the human body. Certain other complex disorders can also be serious and often fatal. These complex disorders include eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

These eating disorders can cause severe disturbances in people's thoughts, emotions and eating behaviours. A common misconception about these disorders is that patients think that it is a lifestyle choice. It is a medical condition that requires expert advice. This article provides information about Anorexia Nervosa Vs Bulimia Nervosa.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder as well as life-threatening. It is associated with extreme restrictions on food due to the intense fear of gaining weight

Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms

  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of muscle mass

Anorexia Nervosa Causes

  • It may occur due to changes in genes
  • Having Obsessive-compulsive personality traits
  • A culture that emphasizes thinness
  • History of dieting
  • Trauma
  • Sexual-esteem

Anorexia Nervosa Treatment

It includes medical care, psychotherapy, nutritional counseling and antidepressants. Challenges in treating anorexia are that the patients do not think that they require treatment and that it is not a mental illness but rather a choice.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is a life-threatening condition. People with bulimia tend to binge secretly. They eat a large portion of food in a single sitting and then take steps to reduce their weight.

Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms

  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Taking large amounts of food at a time
  • Fasting
  • Using supplements to lose weight

Bulimia Nervosa Causes

  • Genetic
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dieting

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment

The treatment involves psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Treatment generally approaches family, friends, primary care providers, dieticians and mental health professionals.

Anorexia Nervosa Vs Bulimia Nervosa: Similarities

Anorexia and bulimia share many similarities for individuals suffering from the same.

  • Anorexia and Bulimia nervosa are both food-centred disorders.
  • Both disorders are common to males and females equally.
  • They mainly affect the people facing body image issues.
  • Cold or decreased body temperature is a common factor found in patients with Anorexia and Bulimia.
  • Cold hands and feet can also cause low blood pressure.
  • Anorexia and bulimia share certain emotional symptoms such as moodiness, irritability, short temper and insecurities.
  • Depression is the common result of both eating disorders.
  • People suffering from either Anorexia or Bulimia develop less interest in being social or public.
  • Patients with Anorexia and Bulimia refuse to keep in contact with friends, family and colleagues.
  • People feel a lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
  • People with these conditions tend to have chaotic and out-of-control lives.
  • Patients restrict their diet and cannot fulfill the need for desired quantity of nutrition.
  • Due to lack of nutrition, patients with Anorexia and Bulimia have slow growth of nails or hair.
  • A low calorie and low nutrients diet can also cause irregular menstruation in females.

Anorexia Nervosa Vs Bulimia Nervosa: The Differences

  • People with anorexia starve to avoid the fear of gaining weight, while patients with bulimia purge or vomit after overeating.
  • People with anorexia starve to maintain below normal weight, while patients with bulimia tend to binge eat and over-exercise to maintain an unhealthy low weight.
  • The patient with bulimia accounts for repetitive vomiting that causes stomach acids that come up into the throat and mouth, while anorexia patients don’t experience vomiting.
  • The joints of an anorexia patient become swell, while the patient with bulimia suffers swelling in the cheeks or jaws.
  • Anorexia nervosa has certain complications, such as amenorrhea, osteoporosis, and infertility. Bulimia patients experience tooth decay followed by the wearing down of teeth enamel. People with bulimia also have a high risk of heart failure.
  • Anorexia affects the patients more psychologically and emotionally than bulimia. For example, patients with anorexia develop suicidal thoughts and are often depressed, while patients with bulimia are obsessed with their body weight and poor body image.