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Terms

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Activity anorexia
The loss of appetite that results from being engaged in extreme physical activity. Activity anorexia could apply to ballet dancers or athletes, for example.
Amenorrhea
Loss of menstrual period, which is sometimes caused by eating disorders.
Anorexia nervosa (AN)
A disorder in which a person refuses to ear or to retain any food or suffers a prolonged and severe diminution of appetite. The individual has an intense fear of becoming obese, feels fat even when emaciated, refuses to maintain a minimal body weight and loses at least 25% of his or her original weight.
Binge eating disorder (BED)
Adde officially as a new eating disorder diagnosis in the DSM-5; includes recurrent episodes of unrestrained eating that can involve the ingestion of thousands of calories at one time.
Body mass index
Often referred to as BMI, an index that reflects how heavy someone is as a function of their height. BMI is calculated by a set formula (i.e body mass in kilograms divided by the square of the person's height).
Bulimia nervosa (BN)
A disorder characterized by episodic uncontrollable eating binges followed by purging either by vomiting or by taking laxatives.
Diagnostic crossover
A tendency for people, over time, to shift their symptoms so that a new disorder now applies and the previous disorder no longer applies. This is usually used to refer to people with anorexia nervosa who then develop bulimia nervosa and vice versa.
Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)
The most common eating disorder diagnosis characterized by heterogeneous symptoms and associated features that do not fit the symptoms of other eating disorders. This diagnosis is applied to between approximately 40 and 70% of diagnosed patients.
Fat talk
A process believed to be implicated in vulnerability to eating disorders that involves the tendency for friends, particularly female friends, to take turns criticizing and critiquing their bodies to each other.
Lateral hypothalamus
A section of the brain that, if lesioned, is associated with a dramatic loss of appetite.
Night eating syndrome
A habitual tendency to wake up and eat in the middle of the night, leading to substantial personal distress.
Overevaluation of appearance
A tendency to link thinness with positive self-esteem and positive self-evaluations.
Purging disorder
A form of bulimia characterized primarily by self-induced vomiting or laxative use at least once a week for a minimum of six months.
Scarlett O’Hara effect
A tendency to eat lightly in an attempt to project an image of femininity.
Social comparison orientation
A personality variable that reflects the extent to which a person evaluates themselves by comparing how they are doing versus how other people are doing.
Thinspiration effect
A sense of being encouraged to lose weight by being influenced by depictions of idealized body types.

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