Anorexia nervosa is a psychological illness that has devastating physical consequences. It is characterised by low body weight and body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining weight, which manifests itself through depriving the body of food. It often coincides with increased levels of exercise.
There are two main sub-types of anorexia:
Restricting type — this is the most commonly known type of anorexia nervosa, whereby a person severely restricts their food intake. Restriction may take many forms (e.g. maintaining very low calorie count, restricting types of food eaten, eating only one meal a day) and may follow obsessive and rigid rules (e.g. only eating food of one colour).
Binge-eating or purging type — less recognised, this type of anorexia nervosa forms when a person restricts their intake as above, but also has regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behaviour (e.g. self-induced vomiting, over-exercise, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas).