How To Recognize Bulimia Nervosa™

Bulimia nervosa (sometimes just called bulimia) is an eating disorder in which a person eats a lot of food in a short period of time (binges) and then tries to get rid of the food to prevent weight gain (purges). They may purge by vomiting or by using laxatives to make the food leave their system faster so less of it gets absorbed.

Consequences of bulimia

The consequences of bulimia are very serious. Over time it weakens the heart muscle and can lead to heart failure. It causes low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. It can cause dehydration and low levels of potassium, magnesium and sodium in the body. It causes anemia. It can cause hormonal imbalances leading to an irregular or absent menstrual period in women.

Bulimia nervosa can cause constipation, diarrhea, and other intestinal problems. The acidic content of vomit damages the teeth and the esophagus. It can also cause stomach ulcers and sores inside the mouth. It can even cause the stomach to rupture.

Bulimia also causes muscle weakness and fatigue. People with bulimia lack energy for daily activities and may become withdrawn and lethargic.

Depression, anxiety, feelings of shame, and low self-esteem may contribute to causing bulimia nervosa, but these feelings may also be consequences of bulimia. It can become a vicious circle.

Bulimia signs

Bulimia signs include:

* Binge eating (eating a lot at one time- this is often done in private, though, so you might not recognize it if it is happening to someone you know)
* Going to the bathroom all the time after eating (to throw up)
* Using diet pills or laxatives a lot
* Exercising obsessively
* A combination of the health problems discussed earlier

Other signs of bulimia nervosa include signs of throwing up a lot, such as:

* Swollen cheeks
* Broken blood vessels in the eyes
* Teeth that look clear (from damage to the tooth enamel from acid in vomit)
* Calluses or scrapes on knuckles (if using fingers to induce vomiting)

Women are more likely to be bulimic than men. About 90% or more of all bulimics are female. Men can also have the disorder, though.

People who are bulimic may be underweight but they may also be of normal weight, so it’s hard to use weight as a criterion to tell is someone might be suffering from bulimia. If someone seems obsessed about his or her body weight that might be an indication of an eating disorder, though.

People with bulimia nervosa may appear moody or sad. They often obsess about their weight and their appearance. They often have low self-esteem and struggle with feelings of worthlessness. They may withdraw from social situations. They may be self-conscious about their appearance and their eating habits. Social isolation and withdrawal are some other consequences of bulimia.

Treatment

Because the consequences of bulimia are so severe, it is important to get medical treatment if you or someone you know has symptoms of bulimia nervosa. Both medical and psychological treatment is generally needed in order to resolve the condition.

Medical treatment will address the physical damage done by the bulimia. It will treat any heart conditions, chemical imbalances, or other conditions caused by the bulimia nervosa. A registered dietician will design a healthy eating plan. Education will be provided to the patient about their condition and the importance of eating properly.

Psychological treatment will assist the patient in dealing with the issues that led to the development of bulimia and will help him or her develop new coping skills. Psychological treatment is very important.€™t

by Scott Mogul

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