Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging. This could mean consuming large amounts of food in a short amount of time, followed by an attempt to rid oneself of the food consumed, typically by vomiting. Some take a laxative or diuretic, exercise excessively, fasting can also be common with bulimia.
Bulimia nervosa is considered to be less life threatening than anorexia; however, the occurrence of bulimia nervosa is substantially higher.
Bulimia is 9 times more likely to occur in women than men. The vast majority of those with bulimia are at normal weight.
Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, are widely used in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. Patients who have bulimia nervosa are often linked with having impulsive behaviors involving over spending and sexual behaviors as well as having family histories of alcohol and substance abuse, as well as mood and eating disorders.
Primary Symptoms of Bulimia
- Extreme concern with body weight and shape.
- Regular intake of large amounts of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control over eating behavior.
- Regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting, and/or obsessive or compulsive exercise.
Common Signs of Bulimia
- Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics
- Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or the existence of wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food.
- Excessive, rigid exercise regimen–despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury, the need to “burn off” calories taken in.
- Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area.
- Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting.
- Discoloration or staining of the teeth.
- Creation of lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge-and-purge sessions.
- Withdrawal from usual friends and activities.
- In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control
of food are becoming primary concerns
Long-term Adverse Health Effects of Bulimia
- Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
- Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting
- Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death. Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium from the body as a result of purging behaviors.
- Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
- Gastric rupture is an uncommon but possible side effect of binge eating.
As with any addiction, there is compulsiveness despite negative consequences, causing a continual deterioration of health ultimately leading to death. Individuals suffering from an eating disorder receive the following:
- History and physical by a trained professional physician
- Eight week three hour three days a week group counseling
- Intravenous delivery of vital nutrients necessary for normal body function and a healthy recovery
- Weekly private session with a therapist and/or physician
- Dietary consultations and meal planning
- Nutritional protocols to restore vitamins, amino acids, and minerals necessary for a healthy body
- Therapeutic modalities specifically treating eating disorders
- Psycho-education for understanding cause/effect management and treatment
Bulimia often manifests from feelings of having little or no control over an individual’s life. These behaviors will often cause the individual to alter bad feelings with good, giving them a feeling of empowerment. This is short lived and complicated, and leads to further feelings of shame and despair. This furthers the destructive pattern of behavior and may lead to or include the use of alcohol and/or other drugs.
We recognize it is the underlying causes that need to be addressed in order to correct the resulting behavior. We do so in a caring, uplifting, and understanding way which serves to empower individuals not only with their disorder but also with other areas of their life.
Note: Solutions Recovery treats all primary alcohol and drug addictive disorders. We also treat issues related to coexisting secondary disorders, including but not limited to, anxiety, an Eating Disorder, eating, gambling, impulse control, sexual and trauma issues.
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Our trained and caring counselors and therapists have a variety of treatment modalities available to help you. Individual, family, and group therapy may be helpful in conjunction with medications, coping and management techniques, and other methods. Treatment is tailored for your unique personality and needs. It’s important to seek help with Drug Addiction from the professionals at Solutions Recovery.