Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterised by binge eating episodes which are then followed by various forms of purging. The purging will take the form of either: vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics. There are some bulimics who do not purge but embark on strict diet plans and excessive exercise regimes post binge to try and remove the calories.
Bulimia is similar to binge eating disorder in as much as the binging session is not brought on as a result of hunger but by emotional issues including depression, low self-esteem and stress and there follows an intense and frenzied gorging session during which enormous quantities of food are consumed. The bingers do not seem to know how to stop eating and it is not uncommon for anything up to 20,000 calories to be consumed in a session. They cannot stop eating junk food, which is what the food is mainly comprised of, until and even beyond the feeling where they think they are going to explode.
A feeling of calm will often follow the gorging session, a feeling of peace, although it is short lived and depression once more sets in. Depression and guilt for having binged once more. Low self-esteem smothers them and for people with binge eating disorder this is where their cycle of behavior completes itself as they would go on from this depression to further binge eating. With bulimics there is a final stage and this begins with panic and fear.
The post binge calm is quickly replaced with the dread realization of what they have once more done and horror at the many thousands of calories that are now coursing around their bodies. Something has to be done about this and this is the point where most bulimics purge. Purging usually takes the form of self-induced vomiting. Forcing the fingers down the throat in an effort to undo the damage they have caused their bodies. Lacerations of the throat are common in bulimics from their frantic efforts and tell tale scars on the backs of their hands caused by the teeth as their hands are forced into their throats.
Purging, however, as a means of removing calories has little effect as the calories enter the body immediately and purging will at best remove perhaps 40%...if that. Some bulimics take laxatives and these are even less effective removing about 10%, some take diuretics which have no effect whatsoever.
Many bulimics also exercise aggressively to try to remove the calories, either in addition to or instead of purging. Purging is extremely debilitating for the health and purging bulimics risk several conditions, some of which can be life threatening:
Swelling and soreness of the cheeks, tooth enamel erosion, gum disease and teeth sensitivity. This is the cause of contact with stomach acids.
Inflammation of the oesophagus.
Stomach cramps, ulcers and delayed emptying, which means that food does not pass through the digestive tract properly.
Constipation, bloating, irregular bowel movements and diarrhea.
Dehydration and low electrolyte levels.
Irregular heart beat and heart failure.
The purging completes the cycle for the bulimic and it may be a few days or only a few hours until the next binging session.
Help for bulimics begins with the admission that they have a problem. Most bulimics binge secretly and even their family and loved ones may not know that there is a problem. Many bulimics are not overweight and hold down jobs and many are high achievers. They can live otherwise normal lives and so it is not always easy to know when someone has a problem.
Psychotherapy is important as the issues of anxiety and depression, low self- esteem and loneliness have to be worked through.
It is important not to diet. Too much emphasis is put on diets these days, diets for quick weight loss, lose weight fast diets and so on. A diet only makes you feel that you are giving up on things, that you are restricted and this only fuels your desire to eat 'forbidden' foods. A healthy eating plan needs to be followed to break the binge/purge cycle and so reach healthy and permanent weight loss.
John Ola is experienced and writes articles on Bulimia Free Life, Bulimia Recovery, Bulimia Treatment, Bulimia Treatment Centers, Eating Disorders Bulimia, Life Coach, Treatment For Bulimia, Treatment Of Eating Disorders, Treatments For Bulimia etc.
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