There are also two subtypes of bulimia nervosa. The Purging Type describes individuals who regularly compensate for the binge eating with self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretics, or enemas. The Non-Purging Type is used to describe individuals who compensate through dietary fasting or excessive exercising.
Many people living with bulimia nervosa can remember very clearly the first time they made themselves sick or took a large dose of laxatives. Individuals with bulimia nervosa regularly engage in discrete periods of overeating, which are followed by attempts to compensate for overeating and to avoid weight gain.
There is variation in the nature of the overeating but the typical episode of overeating involves the consumption of an amount of food that would be considered excessive in normal circumstances.They may now look back on this as the beginning of a destructive illness, but at the time it often felt like a huge release. Bulimia nervosa can be the physical way of dealing with emotions, which are otherwise very difficult to express.
The bulimic is dominated by a sense of a lack of control over the eating. Binge eating is followed by attempts to undo the consequences of the binge though self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, severe caloric restriction, diuretics, enemas, or excessive exercising, etc.
Men and women suffering Bulimia are usually aware they have an eating disorder. Fascinated by food they sometimes buy magazines and cook-books to read recipes, and enjoy discussing dieting issues.
Causes of bulimia nervosa
At first, bulimia nervosa can feel like a way of having control over life – suddenly it seems as if there is a way of eating whatever foods you like and not putting on weight. In reality the opposite is true. When bulimia nervosa takes hold it completely destroys your ability to control what you are eating.
Some people who develop this condition have been abused as children – either physically, sexually or mentally – or may have been in difficult family or sexual relationships. Others may not be able to pinpoint a cause and will not have experienced any of the above difficulties, but still need an outlet for their emotions.
Some people attribute eating disorders to media and fashion. It is fashionable in the developed western culture to be slim. This is not possible for everyone as we are naturally all different shapes and sizes.
Signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa can have serious medical consequences. The following are all medical consequences of the behavior associated with bulimia nervosa. The first two health problems are the most commonly associated with the condition – but people with bulimia nervosa should be aware than the other problems can occur in more serious or prolonged cases:
- Tooth decay
- Irregular menstruation
- Damage to bowel
- Heart and kidney disease
- Intestinal damage
- Puffiness – especially face and fingers
- Increased hair growth on face and body
- Mineral imbalances in the body
Some of the behavioral signs can be: Recurring episodes of rapid food consumption followed by tremendous guilt and purging (laxatives or self-induced vomiting), a feeling of lacking control over his or her eating behaviors, regularly engaging in stringent diet plans and exercise, the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, and/or diet pills and a persistent concern with body image can all be warning signs someone is suffering with Bulimia. If you live with someone who has bulimia nervosa, you may notice other signs. They may spend long periods of time in the bathroom, seem to have stomach upsets regularly or be secretive about eating and shopping.
People with bulimia nervosa may experience serious money worries, which seem difficult to explain. Buying food for binges can be extremely expensive. Many people with bulimia nervosa use expensive junk food to binge on and can spend huge amounts of money in this way. They may also be spending large sums of money on laxative or diuretics. Some people may also resort to stealing as a way of getting enough food for bingeing if they do not have access to sufficient money.
Bulimia nervosa is stressful both mentally and physically. If someone becomes increasingly withdrawn or anxious in social situations or excessively tired or run down, these may also be warning signs.
Treatment for bulimia nervosa
Most people with bulimia nervosa are extremely secretive about their problem. They do, however, very often also wish that it could be discovered. Having bulimia nervosa is a huge strain on the emotions and it can be an enormous relief to share some of the worry about the condition with someone else.
One should realize that there are effective treatments for bulimia nervosa and that, with the right support, we can get better. There are a number of different treatments and approaches, which can help. One may find that making practical changes in life can help to break out of the binge-purge cycle. A few are suggested below.
If you live alone, why not think about sharing with friends or relatives for a while? This may limit the time you have alone and therefore limit your potential to binge.
If you find that you are likely to binge after eating a normal evening meal, try washing up immediately and throwing away all leftover. This will remove some of the immediate reminders about food and will also keep you busy for those difficult first minutes after eating.
If you often decide to binge during the day and buy food at lunchtime or on the way home from work, try taking only a very small amount of cash with you and leaving all other means of getting money at home.