Understanding Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which the patient engages in over eating followed by bouts of guilt, depression, and self-condemnation. These negative feelings are then resolved by overexercising, purging, fasting, or use of laxatives.

Diagnosis

Bulimic people usually experience repeated and uncontrolled binge eating, which then undergo drastic steps to compensate for overeating and prevent weight gain.

Examples of these include self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; fasting, or excessive exercise. However, people suffering from bulimia are harder to spot compared to those with anorexia nervosa (or over starvation) because of the lack of obvious physical symptoms.

Types of bulimia

There are two types of bulimia: purging and non-purging. The former is more common, which involves self-induced vomiting and misuse of laxatives or similar medications. The latter, meanwhile, occurs less often because it is considered less effective in ridding the body of large number of calories. This involves excessive exercising or fasting after a binge.

Causes of bulimia

Bulimia nervosa is related to deep psychological issues, as well as feelings of lack of control. Patients may hide or hoard food and overeat when stressed or upset. This may feel a loss of control during binging, and consequently consume great quantities of food (sometimes amounting to over 20,000 calories).

The binging becomes an addiction after a length of time, making it seems impossible to break. Sufferers of bulimia usually occur in groups involved in activities that emphasize thinness and body type like gymnastics, dances, cheerleading, figure skating, and even entertainment.

Effects of bulimia

In exchange of a desired weight loss, bulimics will get several negative consequences on their body. Among these health problems include malnutrition, dehydration, damaging of the voice, teeth erosion, swelling of the salivary glands, digestive problems, hypertension, paralysis, and even death (from various causes, including suicide).

Treatment of bulimia

Recovery from bulimia should be done early on, or once behavioral problems have been spotted. However, because bulimia is often easy to hide, diagnosis and treatment often come when the disorder has taken over the patient. Although hospitalization is sometimes used to bulimics, it is recommended that they undergo residential treatments like long-term support, counseling, therapy, and symptom interruption.

Anti-depressants or anti-psychotics are also prescribed. The rate and effectiveness of recovery can be very hard, as often in the early stages of treatment the patient will gain weight as they are still binging but no longer purging. This would cause anxiety, and in turn cause the patients to revert back to bulimia.