Mental Health/Mental Illness Terminology

The following Mental Health/Mental Illness Terminology comes from a variety of resources. Our goal is to compile all of these definitions into a resource that can be used easily by everyone.


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Eating disorders - Unhealthy eating habits that interferes with many areas of a person’s life. A person who struggles with an eating disorder can have unrealistic thoughts about body image, and his/her eating habits may begin to disrupt normal body functions and affect daily activities.

There are physical and psychological indicators of eating disorders. Depending on the disorder, some include: preoccupation with food, weight, and body, unrelenting fear of gaining weight, refusal to eat except for tiny portions, dehydration, compulsive exercise, abnormal weight loss, rapid consumption of a large amount of food, eating alone or in secret, depression, feeling of shame and guilt, withdrawal.

There are many forms of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa - Individuals with anorexia may have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.
  • Bulimia nervosa - Individuals eat excessive amounts of food, then purge by making themselves vomit or using laxatives.
  • Binge eating - This disorder involves eating very large amounts of food rapidly (to the point of feeling sick or uncomfortable).
  • Orthorexia nervosa - Individuals who are "manically obsessed" with healthy foods to the point of obsession and restriction.







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