There are similarities as well as differences in the symptoms of anorexia and bulimia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In both cases, individuals display dissatisfaction with their bodies as well as an aversion to weight gain, but anorexic individuals are underweight while bulimic individuals are not.
Individuals with anorexia tend to eat very small amounts of food due to their obsession with weight control, says the National Institute of Mental Health. They have low body weight but may still incorrectly perceive themselves as being overweight, Some anorexic individuals may also engage in bulimic behavior by binging and purging themselves of food. Their hair and nails may break easily, and their skin can take on a yellowish hue. They may become more prone to feeling cold, and develop fine hair growth on their bodies. The condition can also lead to constipation, anemia, tiredness, low blood pressure and infertility. In severe cases, it can cause brain damage and organ failure.
Individuals with bulimia usually have a normal weight and may be overweight. They frequently participate in binge eating behavior and then try to counterbalance the excessive food intake by using laxatives, vomiting, fasting and excessive exercising, reports the National Institute of Mental Health. Due to these actions, bulimic individuals may exhibit symptoms such as sore throat, damaged teeth, gastrointestinal issues, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. In severe cases, the condition can cause stroke or heart attacks.