Dr. Oz Defines the 3 Major Eating Disorders

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Dr. Oz reveals the symptoms of 3 major eating disorders including anorexia and bulimiaHow do you know if you or someone you love is in danger of having an eating disorder? Dr. Oz explains the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified). From YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life, by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

People with anorexia nervosa (AN) have an intense fear of becoming fat or gaining any weight, even though they are often underweight. They seriously restrict their caloric intake and are generally acutely aware of every calorie that goes into their bodies. Besides restricting, people with anorexia may also binge and purge, but the resulting calories consumed are less than the average person, and much less than is needed for healthy functioning.

People with bulimia nervosa (BN) have episodes of eating much more than the average person would eat in a particular time period, and they feel out of control of their eating during this time. Then, they do something to “get rid of” the calories. This may include vomiting, using laxatives or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.

There is also a group of eating disorders that do not quite fit into either of the other categories; we call them eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). People with EDNOS may not meet the rigid medical requirements of an AN or BN diagnosis but feature similar food-related behaviors. Or they may have unusual routines or rituals related to food—for example only eating foods of certain colors, or chewing food and spitting it out.

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Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and a Schuster Institute Fellow at Brandeis University. She has worked in international development on a child survival campaign, and in interational human rights advocacy. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, Ms. magazine, More, Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, and The Walt Disney Internet Group.


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David B. Agus, MD, author of the New York Times and international bestsellers The End of Illness and A Short Guide to a Long Life, is a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California and heads USC’s Westside Cancer Center and the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. He is one of the world’s leading cancer doctors and pioneering biomedical researchers, and is a CBS News contributor. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.

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