Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that forces people towards binge eating by trapping them in a world where food is the only source of happiness. The word Bulimia Nervosa was coined in 1979 by British psychiatrist Gerald Russell. Being originally a Greek word, it translates to ‘ravenous hunger’.
Bulimia generally has two stages, one being where the person consumes large amounts of food and the second is called purging. Purging causes the person to instantly induce vomiting. However, vomiting is not the only form of purging. It also encompasses self-induced excretion through laxatives.
Bulimia generally begins with a binge eating disorder which later turns into a life-threatening disease. A person could consume thousands of calories in one day and then stimulate vomiting to lose the extra weight.
Self-induced vomiting is a way for bulimic patients to flush out food from their body as a measure to stop weight gain. Similar to anorexia, it is a mental condition of self-doubt where the person critically judges his/her physical appearance to an extreme. Even a pound of weight gain frenzies them. The main difference between anorexia and bulimia is that anorexia conveys a sense of self-starvation involving weight loss of 15 percent or more of a person’s body weight, whereas bulimia nervosa patients are usually at their normal weight or above.
What Causes Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia is a common condition in both men and women, especially in teens in which the disorder leads to severe emotional and mental distortions. At times, a person having bulimia symptoms traps themselves in a world of shame and silence, where all their thoughts circle around food.
People with bulimia put unnecessary emphasis on their body type and weight for self-assessment. This leads to a person having a low self-esteem and sense of self-worth as they define their existence solely by their looks.
Bulimia Nervosa can also be generated from a history of abuse and trauma. Such people are constantly suffering from severe depression and are prone to developing eating disorders as a way of forgetting their experiences.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Since people with bulimia don’t always realize the disorder as a problem by themselves, it is important to keep a lookout for the most common symptoms found in bulimic patients. Bulimia symptoms can be categorized into physical and behavioral categories.
People suffering from bulimia display several worrying physical traits that must be immediately looked into. Such as:
- The most common physical change is sudden weight gain. If a person seems to appear bloated, it could be a sign of weight gain from excessive eating.
- Look for any cut marks on their hands as vomiting is usually induced by scraping fingers against the teeth.
- Excessive vomiting causes blood vessels inside the mouth to burst. This leaves small red marks on the face.
- Bulimia patients also suffer from severe dehydration which also results in dizziness and fainting.
- The excessive excretion of food can make people appear highly fatigued and tired. It also disrupts their sleeping patterns.
People going through a binge and purge disorder not only exhibit several of the above physical symptoms but there are also a few behavioral changes that should be observed in a potential bulimic person.
- People with bulimia often eat secretly; therefore, a bizarre number of food wrappers and waste should be taken notice of.
- Spending an unreasonable time in the washroom can also be a sign of binge eating and bulimia.
- Longer breaks between eating and fasting
- Displaying an erratic behavior. Such people generally go through several mood swings, with anxiety being a sign of having not eaten for a long time.
- Lack of control over eating during a binging episode
- People with bulimia are also seen exercising a lot if not self-inducing vomit. They exercise in order to subsidize the extra pounds gained.
- Excessive concern about one’s body weight and figure even during routine conversations.
People suffering from bulimia get entangled in severe health problems such as heart and kidney issues, bone thinning and infertility. At its most advanced stage, Bulimia Nervosa can lead to cardiac arrest and even death. Therefore, looking for signs of bulimia in those around you is necessary for providing them with the proper aid before the addiction becomes worse.
Eating disorder patients may want to consider in enrolling in a rehabilitation center where they are given appropriate treatment promoting a healthier lifestyle and stronger self esteem.