What Is Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is one of many complex mental health conditions. Like other disorders, bulimia is governed by a feeling of compulsion that causes sufferers to engage in behaviors they understand to have negative consequences. A severe psychological disorder, bulimia affects physical health in numerous ways, but most seriously, it can lead to loss of life. Someone suffering from bulimia requires treatment by a certified healthcare provider who specializes in the field of eating disorders.
A person suffering from bulimia repeatedly engages in binge eating and purging by some means such as vomiting or using laxatives. Non-purging bulimia involves binge eating that’s followed up by periods of fasting or intensive exercise. Psychiatrists cannot pinpoint a single cause of this disorder, but instead, believe it rises from a number of causes that may include having a negative body image, having little to no self-esteem, suffering a traumatic incident, experiencing a form of abuse, or engaging in a pursuit or job that requires a certain appearance or weight range. A person with bulimia will often binge and purge in secret, lack control when eating, and exhibit patterns of bingeing and fasting.
Diagnosing Bulimia Nervosa
A person has to decide that are ready to recognize and address their problem before treatment can begin. This is one of the hardest steps, but it will lead to a rewarding journey of self-discovery.
Do I have bulimia nervosa? Self-assessment checklist:
- Do you frequently worry about your weight or appearance?
- Does the thought of gaining weight cause distress?
- Do you compulsively eat large amounts of food in one sitting?
- Do you end these binge eating sessions with compensating behaviors, such as purging, fasting, or exercising?
- Do you use laxatives, diuretics, or enemas on a regular basis?
- Do you use dietary supplements or herbal products in an attempt to control your weight?
If these patterns sound familiar, you should speak with a medical professional. Remember to be honest with yourself and any medical professionals you speak to. There is nothing to be ashamed of – you can get through this.
What Are the Effects of Bulimia?
Bulimia can have dramatic health effects on the body. Binge eating and purging can cause:
- Broken blood vessels beneath the eyes
- Continual weight fluctuations
- Tooth decay
- Electrolyte imbalances (this can cause cardiac arrest)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Oral trauma
- Esophageal inflammation
- Gastric reflux
- Mood swings
- Bloody vomit
- Organ damage