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Bulimia Nervosa Information

Bulimia nervosa, more commonly known as bulimia, is an eating disorder. It is a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by an intentional purging. People with bulimia nervosa often live in a secret world of shame and self-disgust. A person with bulimia eats a lot of food in a short amount of time (binges) and then tries to prevent weight gain by getting rid of the food, called purging. Many people think that eating disorders affect only young, upper-class White females. It is true that most bulimics are women. But bulimia affects people from all walks of life, including males, women of color, and even older women. People with bulimia nervosa often feel a lack of control during their eating binges. Their food is usually eaten secretly and gobbled down rapidly with little chewing. People with bulimia experience episodes of bingeing and purging. During these episodes, they typically eat a large amount of food in a short period of time and then try to rid themselves of the extra calories in inappropriate ways, such as self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise. The cause of bulimia nervosa is unknown. Factors in the patient's social environment are important, including the cultural pressure for women in the Western world to aspire to an unnaturally slim body weight.

Bulimia nervosa typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood. A person with bulimia may be thin, overweight, or have a normal weight. This makes it hard to know if someone has bulimia. Bulimia is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Because it's so intimately entwined with self-image - it's not just about food - bulimia can be difficult to overcome. The disorder is more prevalent in Caucasian groups, but is becoming a rising problem in the African American and Hispanic communities. While some cases of bulimia nervosa are short-lived, usually the symptoms will be present for some months or years before a sufferer seeks help. Many individuals with bulimia, ashamed of their strange habits, do not seek help until they reach their thirties or forties. By this time, their eating behavior is deeply ingrained and more difficult to change. he affected person is usually aware that her eating pattern is abnormal and may experience fear or guilt associated with the binge-purge episodes. Although the behavior is usually secretive, clues to this disorder include overactivity, peculiar eating habits or rituals, and frequent weighing. Because many individuals with bulimia maintain a normal or above-normal body weight, they are able to keep their condition a secret for years. A person with bulimia can be helped much more easily if the problem is identified and treated early. Bulimia can sometimes be treated with a self-help manual with occasional guidance from a therapist.

Causes of Bulimia nervosa

The common causes and risk factor's of Bulimia nervosa include the following:

  • Decreased production of a digestive hormone.
  • Genes, hormones, and chemicals in the brain may be factors in developing bulimia.
  • Different types of stress can lead to an eating disorder.
  • Traumatic events like rape, as well as stressful things like starting a new job, can lead to bulimia.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • An important factor contributing to bulimia is the social pressure for women to be thin.
  • Unhappiness with weight and size.

Symptoms of Bulimia nervosa

Some sign and symptoms related to Bulimia nervosa are as follows:

  • Swollen cheeks or glands.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Depression or changes in mood.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Vomiting or abusing laxatives or diuretics in an attempt to lose weight.
  • Irregular menstrual periods.
  • Feeling a loss of control over how much you eat.
  • Preoccupation with body weight.
  • Dental problems.

Treatment of Bulimia nervosa

Here is list of the methods for treating Bulimia nervosa:

  • Bulimia can sometimes be treated with a self-help manual with occasional guidance from a therapist.
  • A GP may prescribe antidepressants such as fluoxetine, in the short-term. Antidepressants have been shown to reduce bingeing and purging.
  • Sometimes a combination of psychological therapy and drug therapy is used.
  • A type of talking treatment, or psychotherapy, called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is frequently used. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help people to learn healthier ways of thinking about food.
  • Some patients may require hospitalization due to the extent of the medical or psychological complications.


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