Eating disorders are devastating behavioral maladies brought on by a complex interplay of factors, which may include emotional and personality disorders, family pressures, a possible genetic or biologic susceptibility, and a culture in which there is an overabundance of food and an obsession with thinness. There are four general categories of eating disorders:

  • Bulimia nervosa.
  • Anorexia nervosa.
  • Binge eating.
  • Eating disorders not otherwise specified.

These are not new disorders. Although anorexia nervosa was first defined as a medical problem in the late 1800s, descriptions of self-starvation have been found even in medieval writings.

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