A person suffering
with Bulimia Nervosa consume large amounts of food and then rid their
bodies of the excess calories by vomiting, utilising laxatives or diuretics,
taking enemas, or excessive exercising. Many sufferers will use a combination
of all these forms of purging and "binge and purge" in secret
to maintain normal or above normal body weight. In many cases these
sufferers may successfully hide their problem from others for years.
binges and purges, is common, which can range from once or twice a week
to several times a day. Dieting heavily between episodes of binging
and purging is also a practice adopted. Eventually, half of those with
anorexia will develop bulimia.
As with anorexia,
bulimia typically begins during adolescence. The condition occurs most
often in women but is also found in men. Many individuals with bulimia,
ashamed of their strange habits, do not seek help until they reach their
thirties or forties. By this time, their eating behavior is deeply ingrained
and more difficult to change.
The patient repeatedly eats in binges. In a binge episode the patient
has both of:
more food than most people would in similar circumstances and in a
similar period of time.
Feels that the eating is out of control.
The patient repeatedly controls weight gain by inappropriate means such
as: fasting, self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise or abuse of laxatives,
diuretics or other drugs.
On average, both of the above behaviors (binge eating and inappropriate
control) have occurred at least twice a month for at least 3 consecutive
Weight and body shape unduly affect the patient's self-evaluation.
These symptoms do not occur solely during episodes of Anorexia
Purging type: The patient often induces vomiting or misuses diuretics
or laxatives. This is the more common type.
Nonpurging type: The patient fasts or exercises excessively but does
not often induce vomiting or misuse diuretics or laxatives.
The self esteem
of individuals with eating disorders is directly related to their body
shape, and weight. This eating disorder often lead to diminished concentration
and attention leaving one less able to focus on academic course or professional
work. Preoccupation with food and body image result in feelings of anxiety
which may also interfere with daily functioning. In severe cases medical
problems may arise such as hypotension, dental enamel erosion, malnutrition,
impaired renal functioning, electrolyte imbalance, and cardiovascular
problems which require medical attention and possible hospitalization.
interventions may include individual or group therapy. Often simply
beginning a course of treatment will result in a feeling of relief at
no longer having to keep such an important part of one's life a secret.
The focus of psychotherapy is often on improving self-esteem, but may
be supplemented with nutrition education, discussions of eating habits,
exploration of the role that food and eating play in one's life and
underlying family and interpersonal dynamics