Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is a type of eating disorder that is commonly combined with anorexia nervosa though not always. Someone with bulimia nervosa will binge on food which is when they eat very large amounts of food, and use a method of dispelling it from the body, either from vomiting or using laxatives. It is a very dangerous eating disorder that can cause a wide variety of adverse health conditions. This is an eating disorder most often done by women (and men) who want to lose weight but feel like they can’t control what and how much they eat.
Causes of Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia is more common among women than men, though men do have the disorder. The eating disorder is also more common among young girls and teenagers than older women. This usually develops at a young age based on unhealthy eating patterns or an obsession with losing weight and being thin. There are a number of risk factors though not a single cause of bulimia nervosa. Some of the factors that lead to bulimia nervosa are cultural factors, trauma, genetics, psychological and emotional issues, family factors and society factors. There is also often more than one factor leading to the eating disorder.
Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
The main symptom of bulimia nervosa is someone who binge eats by eating a lot of unhealthy food in a very short period of time, and purging the food from the body to prevent weight gain. The foods are usually unhealthy and high in calories, and eaten in secret. The purging is also hidden from family and friends. Purging can consist of forcing yourself to vomit, taking laxatives, diuretics or enemas, and excessive exercise. Someone who feels a sense of relief after the purging the food from their body is showing a red flag for bulimia nervosa. Other symptoms include excessive and compulsive exercise, eating in secret, buying large amounts of foods that are gone quickly, using the restrooms shortly after eating a large meal, and seeing empty packages on diuretics, laxatives, diet pills or emetics, which are drugs that cause vomiting. Physical signs include dry mouth, pouch-like appearance in the cheeks, worn away teeth enamel, broken blood vessels in the eyes, cuts on the tops of the fingers from vomiting, rashes and pimples.
Treating Bulimia Nervosa
A variety of treatment options are available to people suffering from eating disorders like bulimia nervosa. It usually consists of behavioral and psychological therapy and counseling as it is a disorder starting with their mental state. Medication therapy may also be needed to stop them from vomiting, as well as to treat underlying causes of the eating disorder such as depression or anxiety.