What is Purging Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Purging disorder is a form of an eating disorder. Today, we’ll discuss what is purging disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Purging Disorder?

Purging disorder is a type of eating disorders that comprises purging behavior in order to manipulate your body shape and lose weight. The purging behavior comprises of following activities;

  • Fasting
  • Exercising excessively
  • Medications and misuse of laxatives
  • Self-induced vomiting

Purging disorder is a recognized eating disorders and it falls under the category of specific feeding and eating disorders, but it’s not as famous as other types of eating disorders.

It’s significant to mention here that eating disorders are critical and dangerous forms of mental health conditions. It’s because they can significantly jeopardize your mental and physical health. However, if you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should remember that you aren’t alone going through it.

Bulimia vs. Purging Disorder

Bulimia is a critical type of eating disorders that happens in the form of binge eating episodes followed by the episode of purging. Both purging disorders and bulimia exhibit similar purging behavior, and the main differentiating factor between the two is the compulsion to binge eat in bulimia.

Purging disorder comprises purging behavior without the episode of binge eating.

Symptoms of Purging Disorder

The purging disorder exhibits similar types of symptoms as the other forms of eating disorders. Some of those symptoms are as follows;

  • Self-esteem issues would impact your body weight and shape
  • Obsession with losing weight and fear of gaining weight
  • Emotional distress disturbs your personal, work, and social life
  • The repetitive episodes of purging behavior result in the form of weight loss, and it comprises the following behavior;
  • Exercising excessively
  • Fasting
  • Misusage of enemas
  • Misuse of diuretics or laxatives
  • Self-induced vomiting

Eating disorders could impact any person with any type of body weight and shape. It’s important to know the symptoms before eating disorders jeopardize your health. However, if you’re experiencing the symptoms of an eating disorder, then you should take the self-assessment test to know the type of disorder. Such self-assessment tests don’t qualify for the diagnosis of the condition, and it’s advisable that you should consult with the therapist. 


Purging disorder could impact anyone regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, sex, and age. The stereotypical view is that eating disorders impact only teenage girls, and it is both damaging and incorrect. Often, it discourages people from following the treatment. 

Causes of Purging Disorder

Some factors that amplify the probability of developing an eating disorder among certain types of people are as follows; 

  • Weight-focused sports 
  • Participating the physical appearance or beauty contest
  • Physical or sexual abuse

Studies have shown that eating disorders could happen in the late adolescence and childhood years. Males are at the risk of developing eating disorders, and 25% of the people with eating disorders are males according to a review study. Additionally, eating disorders are more common among males than females. 

People with eating disorders condition are more vulnerable to developing a mood disorder. According to a study, 89% of the people with eating disorders condition are more likely to develop mood disorders like; 

  • Substance use
  • Impulse control issues 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 

Eating disorders aren’t a choice, they’re critical mental health conditions. 

Side Effects 

Purging disorders pose serious impacts on your health, and they’re as follows; 

  • Chemical imbalances of electrolytes 
  • Nutrient deficiencies 
  • Dehydration 
  • Constipation or digestive issues 
  • Kidney failure
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Scarred hands
  • Irregular heartbeat and other heart issues 
  • Mood swings 
  • Facial swelling 
  • Throat swelling
  • Tooth decay
  • Feeling faint

Self-induced vomiting could result in the form of severe damage to various areas of your body, and it comprises of following; 

  • Cardiovascular system 
  • Digestive system 
  • Esophagus 
  • Teeth 

Treatment of Purging Disorder

The treatment plan for purging disorder varies from person to person, and it impacts different people differently. Outpatient therapeutic treatment could benefit some people, and the people require the inpatient intense recovery program.

An inpatient treatment plan requires daily assessment or medical monitoring, and an outpatient treatment plan comprises daily assessment and medical monitoring.

Medication isn’t the solution to purging disorder or any other type of eating disorders. They’re very helpful to treat the additional mood disorders symptoms like stress and the anxiety of recovery/treatment plan.


It’s possible to treat eating disorder conditions, but it requires a lot of time to do so. You should be patient with your treatment and recovery plan. Additionally, you should consider joining the support group, journaling, and therapeutic treatment. Relapses can happen, if it happens, then it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure.

Conclusion: What is Purging Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is purging disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that purging could badly impact your physical and mental health. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult the doctor as soon as possible.