Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes  of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge-eating), and  feeling a lack of control over the eating. This binge-eating is followed  by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging  (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting  and/or excessive exercise.

Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia  can fall within the normal range for their age and weight. But like  people with anorexia, they often fear gaining weight, want desperately  to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and  shape. Usually, bulimic behavior is done secretly, because it is often  accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame. The binging and purging  cycle usually repeats several times a week. Similar to anorexia, people  with bulimia often have coexisting psychological illnesses, such as  depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse problems. Many physical  conditions result from the purging aspect of the illness, including  electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and  tooth-related problems.

Seven symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa:

Preoccupation with  food
Binge eating, usually in secret
Vomiting after bingeing
Abuse of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills
Denial of hunger or  drugs to induce vomiting
Compulsive exercise
Swollen salivary  glands
Broken blood vessels in the eyes

Bulimia  Nervosa symptoms explained

1. Binge Eating

All  of us will overeat now and then; doing so is pretty normal behavior.  For instance at Thanksgiving, we all sit down at the dinner table and  probably overindulge. Binge eating in bulimia has certain  characteristics that make it much different.

A binge is defined  by several characteristics, including consuming a larger amount of food  than most people would eat during the same time period  (potentially thousands of calories) within a short period of  time (typically 2 hours or less). It is also characterized by a feeling  that one CANNOT STOP or CONTROL one’s eating, accompanied by physical or  emotional distress.

2. Purging

Following a  binge, an individual may feel consumed with fear, guilt or shame and the  need to try to undo his/her behavior. Purging is a way to compensate  for binging. Purge behaviors come in many forms: vomiting, taking  laxatives or water pills, starving or excessive exercise.

It is  important to recognize that purging rarely works well for weight loss.  Laxatives and diuretics make a person lose water not weight. Even  vomiting seems to be ineffective; it has been reported that 50-75% of  the calories have already been absorbed.

3. Bingeing and  Purging occurs more than 2 x a week for at least 3 months

4.Body  Image: Self evaluation and self esteem is overly influenced by weight  and shape

Many people in our culture are concerned with how  they look, what they weigh or how to change the body parts they don’t  like. In bulimia, there is an intense connection between self respect  and the way the body looks. We can be great in a lot of things, but if  our thighs are too big, well then, we are just not good enough.

What  about weight in bulimia nervosa?
Weight can be normal,  underweight or overweight. Unlike anorexics who can be often identified  by their low weight, it is more difficult to identify bulimics. Weight  can also dramatically shift, and large swings might be an indicator that  someone is developing an eating disorder.