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Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that could potentially be life-threatening. It is characterized by binge eating large amounts of food, followed by purging in secrecy. Those affected by the disorder have episodes of uncontrolled binging or overeating, and it can happen many times a day or several times a week.


Often times those with bulimia have normal or above normal weight, thus making them harder to detect, and the problem can be hidden for many years. Many do not seek help until they're between 30-50 years of age, but by then, the habit has been ingrained and more difficult to change.

The two types of people with bulimia are purging types, and non purging types.

Those who purges engage in self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas, or other medicines that clear the intestines. The non purging types uses other behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, rather than purging behaviors.

The cause of bulimia is unknown. Societal and cultural ideals on body weight and shape typically plays a large role. There is also a genetic link as eating disorders tend to run in families.

Symptoms of Bulimia

These are the most common symptoms of bulimia:

  • Usually a normal or above average body weight

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating and fear of not being able to stop eating

  • Self-induced vomiting (usually secretive)

  • Excessive exercise

  • Excessive fasting

  • Peculiar eating habits or rituals

  • Inappropriate use of laxatives or diuretics

  • Irregular or absence of menstruation

  • Anxiety

  • Discouraged feelings related to dissatisfaction with themselves and the way their body looks

  • Depression

  • Preoccupation with food, weight, and body shape

  • Throat is always inflamed or sore

  • Tiredness and decreased energy

  • Dental problems due to erosion of enamel from vomiting

Most people with eating disorders also share certain traits including:

  • Low self-esteem

  • Feelings of helplessness

  • Fear of getting fat

  • Intense unhappiness with their body shape and size

If you have bulimia, you may binge to reduce stress and ease anxiety.

  • With binge eating comes guilt, disgust, and depression.

  • Purging brings only short-term relief.

  • You may be impulsive and more likely to take part in risky behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse.

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