The Facts about Bulimia

Graphic created by Artemisia in
Graphic created by Artemisia in

Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder as well as a psychological illness where a person binges and purges or consumes an abnormally large amount of food and then forces himself or herself to throw up or get rid of the food by other means. Although often compared to anorexia nervosa, bulimia is quite different. sheds some light onto the similarities and differences between the two eating disorders. For example, they are caused by different things. Both are rooted in the idea that one is overweight but bulimia is a struggle caused by the idea that one does not have enough self control while anorexia is too much restriction. They also come with different health problems. Anorexics suffer from malnutrition which causes bone, heart, and organ problems as well as other problems. Bulimics often see symptoms caused by their purging. Throwing up causes the acid to hurt the throat and mouth. It can also irritate the stomach and passageway, causing them to swell. In extreme cases, heart and organ problems may arise.

Unlike anorexia, people suffering with bulimia may not appear skeletal. According to Bulimia Help, for many people bulimia causes weight gain. The author of the article, “21 Signs Some One Has Bulimia Nervosa,” talks about how to identify a person suffering from bulimia. Some of the red flags mentioned are rapid weight changes and the signs of scar marks around the knuckles as a result of the back of the hand rubbing and cutting on the teeth when purging. However, most of the changes are related to strange behaviors or mood swings. Bulimics will often visit the restroom soon after a meal to purge. To hide the sound, Kerr says that some will play music or run the taps. Another telltale sign may be the appearance of cups in hidden places. Some people with bulimia may throw up into cups rather than using the toilet if needed. Despite their fear of being “fat,” many people suffering from bulimia will have a food obsession. The desire to binge and purge is caused by an inner struggle to remain thin while eating whatever they choose. The lack of proper nutrition may also cause violent mood swings. Discomfort paired with depression can cause bulimics to be withdrawn and unsocial.

The number of people suffering from eating disorders is on the rise since more and more people are becoming overweight. To get rid of that weight, many people will diet and exercise. The restriction of food may result in binging followed by purging. WebMD suggests that bulimia may be caused by family members who struggle with weight or have had a history of eating disorders. Eating disorders generally appear in women in their teens and early twenties, especially those who participate in activities such as dance or gymnastics. Another trigger could be stress. Binging and purging could be the result of problems in the family, in school, with friends, or in another important aspect of life. Perfectionists may also be victims to eating disorders. Their misguided body image and the desire to achieve the perfect figure may cause an eating disorder.

Overcoming an eating disorder takes time and diligence as well as a participant willing to get better. People who suffer from misguided body images may deny that there is anything wrong and continue to starve, binge, and purge. It’s difficult for someone with an eating disorder to overcome the problem alone. Bulimia treatment will likely require a psychologist because overcoming the mental boundary is more difficult than overcoming the physical trials. Therapy as well as good nutritional information may help relieve the symptoms of bulimia. WebMD also suggests that antidepressants may contribute to recovery. The cause for bulimia may be rooted in depression caused by body image or by a difficult and stressful long term situation. If untreated, bulimia can lead to serious problems in physical as well as mental wellness.

Bulimia Help has a helpful list of do’s and don’ts just in case someone you know confides that they are suffering from bulimia. Make sure you provide support and take the issue seriously. Don’t try to force them to talk about their problem. They will come to you if they feel like talking. Overall, just try to be there and aid them in their process to recovery as best you can.