Are you worried that you or someone close to you is suffering from the eating disorder bulimia? Help is at hand. Here we tell you a little about bulimia, what to look out for and how we can get you or a loved one the best possible treatment.
What is bulimia?
Bulimia, or Bulimia Nervosa, is a severe eating disorder that’s characterised by binge eating and extreme efforts to avoid gaining weight. Bulimia often follows a strict period of dieting or a major life event. It’s most common among females in their late teens and early twenties but also affects males. Bulimia tend to fall into two groups. Purging, where the sufferer compensates from binge eating episodes by self-induced vomiting or taking laxatives and diuretics. And non-purging bulimia, which involves the sufferer making up for binge eating by fasting or undertaking vigorous exercise.
Signs, symptoms and risks of bulimia
Sufferers often use binge eating to stifle feelings of anger or hurt. While they are full of food, they have no room for feelings. But this is short-lived and bulimia often leads to feelings of self-loathing, shame and guilt. While anorexics tend to be underweight, bulimics are usually of a normal weight. This is because purging after a binge does not remove all the calories consumed. Therefore bulimia can be a hard illness to identify and it’s a very secretive disease. There are however a few signs to look out for. Does your loved one frequently go to the bathroom soon after a meal? Is food disappearing from your kitchen? Physical symptoms of purging bulimia include facial puffiness, broken vessels under the eyes, a sore throat, swollen glands, heartburn and unexplained tooth decay; these are the results of vomiting. However, these are minor symptoms. Prolonged bulimia can result in dehydration, ruptures of the stomach and the esophagus and an electrolyte imbalance which can lead to an irregular heartbeat and, in extreme cases, a heart attack.
Fortunately, there are many options available for treating eating disorders such as bulimia. The most effective solutions address both the physical and the psychological problems, and combine nutritional treatment, support groups and therapy either in a residential treatment centre or as an outpatient. At Addiction Helper, we can help you look at all the options available and provide all the support that you and your family will need.