Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms and Treatments

Bulimia nervosa – The Invisible Enemy

According to the World Health Organization over the past two years, the incidence of anorexia and bulimia among young people aged 12 to 16 years have increased twice.

Moreover, 67% of them suffer from severe exhaustion and expressed mental disorder. Because of dissatisfaction with their appearance, one on every hundred teenagers had tried to commit suicide.

It is estimated that from anorexia in the world suffer around 12 per 100 000 people and from bulimia – 24 100 000. 90% of those suffering from anorexia are girls aged 12 to 24 years.

In the remaining, 10 percents are women and men. There are recorded cases of eating disorders in children under 10 years.

Unfortunately quite accurate statistics are missing because many patients and their families are unaware of the problem. Which are the most common disorders:

Types of eating disorders:

  • Bulimia
  • Anorexia
  • Hyperphagia (binge eating)
  • Orthorexia (compulsive desire to eat only healthy food)
  • Drunkorexia (“alcoholic diet”, characterized by the replacement of the feed with an alcohol in order to intentionally decrease the weight and control it.)
  • Selective eating – refusal to accept certain products, culminating in the use of a very limited list of foods and unwillingness to try new. The principle of selection may include the color of the food, species identification and more.
  • Obsessive-compulsive overeating – associated with OCD as part of its typical compulsive rituals.
  • Alotriofagia – eating non-food substances, which occurs most often in young children and people with delayed mental development. Patients often absorb dangerous and sharp objects: glass, nails, etc.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating, immediately followed by cleanup – by vomiting, diuretics and laxatives, enemas, movement.

The term translated from Greek means “ox hunger”. People suffering from bulimia usually have a normal weight. A typical expression of this disease is often overeating followed by induced vomiting, use of laxatives and diuretics.

Be blamed for bulimia the ordinary desire for weight loss means to underestimate the problem. Naturally, there is no doubt that caring for the appearance and own body are the main cause of the wide distribution of such diseases as bulimia and anorexia.

It is not accidental and the fact that these diseases occur mainly during puberty – a critical period of human development when most people form opinions and their value systems that are changed slightly later in life.

What begins as an innocent desire to reduce weight in order to enhance physical attractiveness, might lead to a serious health problem that you fight in your entire life.

Many people suffering from bulimia use food as a way of control and only professionals can help them understand exactly what problems are the hidden sources of this disease.

For example, a patient seeks to hold on their lives in their own hands or suffering from the unwanted interference of another person (usually a parent). And the only way to do this appears to be the restriction of the food.

After each cleaning the stomach he feels guilt, shame, disgust and sometimes by himself, which brings the feeling of losing control of the situation.

To regain control, resort to the only thing that can control – the food, which leads to overeating again and again cleansing. This leads to a cycle of dependency that is very difficult to break without help.

Naturally, each person is unique in its life may exist other problems that bring him to bulimia – as experienced sexual abuse, ridicule of peers for being overweight and many others. others.

Patients with bulimia tend to hide their condition and others may not notice their problem for a long time. But we must not forget that this is a disease and it is very important that to be recognized on time.


They are complex, the most important among them are psychological, social, cultural and genetic reasons.

Most often bulimic crises are triggered by stressful situations related to an increase in tension. But the disease starts long before. It is believed that the beginning of bulimia is rooted more in the embryonic period of human development.

The emotional climate that has passed the pregnancy, the behavior of the pregnant woman and her relatives are critical. Inappropriate attitude and all negative experiences during this period lead to deterioration of the psyche of the fetus. Even then sow the seeds of guilt that thrive later in the form of bulimia crises / uncontrolled absorption of food / who are the stereotyped way to relieve the distress.

Bulimia is a lack of unconditional love from parents. Overeating is a kind of protest, a cry for help, compensatory / but satisfying / saturation of the senses, which speaks of a certain infantilism.

Irregular and incomplete emptying of the colon also creates conditions for developing bulimia. Due to the constant feeling of fullness in the abdomen, such people are almost constantly hungry. But sometimes their hunger overcomes and they frantically absorb any food in large quantities.

Signs that you can guess that someone is suffering from bulimia:

  • Wounds on the fingers (caused by the fact he uses them in his throat to induce vomiting);
  • Walking to the bathroom immediately after meals and spending more time there than necessary;
  • Erosion of the teeth (caused by contact with the stomach acid);
  • Cramping pains (caused by deficiency of potassium);
  • Weakness, fatigue, loss of consciousness;
  • Weight loss;
  • Swelling of the salivary glands;
  • Sores in the mouth and throat;
  • Dehydration;
  • Irregular heartbeat;
  • Disorders of the menstrual cycle or complete absence (amenorrhea);
  • depression;
  • Increased anxiety;
  • Often overeating, especially fatty and sugary foods;
  • Constant complaint from overweight;
  • Reluctance to eat in public places or at all in the presence of others;
  • Taking various medications and dietary supplements for weight loss;
  • Taking laxatives and diuretics and others.

Physiological complications of bulimia:

  • Dehydration and hypokalemia due to frequent vomiting
  • Electrolyte imbalances, which can lead to arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, and death
  • Inflammation of the gullet
  • Injuries in the mouth and throat caused by the insertion of fingers or other objects to induce vomiting
  • Paresis of the gastric musculature or delayed gastric emptying
  • Ulcer or stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Problematic conceiving
  • Infertility
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Bloodshot eyes

Bulimia can be divided into two types, which are often found in combination:

Purifying bulimia – causing vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics to remove the ingested food.

Unpurified bulimia (or second stage of anorexia) – where for weight control are using other methods, such as fasting or exhausting exercise.

In the case of any symptoms of bulimia with you or in someone close to you, look as quickly as possible for medical attention. Usually, bulimia does not pass by itself and with time the situation is getting worse and can get out of control.

Consequences of bulimia

If bulimia is not treated, its consequences are destructive to human health. Due to a decreasing weight by women is often violated the menstrual cycle and sometimes it is completely terminated.

It starts a process of slowing metabolism. Bulimia worsens the appearance – skin, hair, nails and teeth. The greatest danger lies in the shortage of potassium, which is needed for the normal functioning of the heart. In more extreme cases it may be required a hospitalization.

The most important and difficult decision that must make a person in order to start to treat it successfully is to recognize that it is sick and tell this to someone.

The sooner you seek medical attention, the chance of cure is greater. But as practice shows, this step is the most difficult for many patients.

How to treat bulimia

There is no quick recovery. Bad eating habits are formed for years and to get rid of them, it is often necessary not less time.

The treatment is done by means of psychotherapy and antidepressants. Exactly psychotherapy is the most important and lengthy stage of the treatment that helps patients understand the disease and find a way out of this state.

Antidepressants help to eliminate some of the symptoms, but they offer only temporary relief.

The success of treatment depends on the tenacity and desire of the patient, its ability to accept without fear their weaknesses. For which purpose it needs not only the full force of his will but also the support of their loved ones.

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