Bulimia is an eating disorder - caused by an abnormal attitude towards food or body image, which is used as a coping mechanism associated with stifling feelings of anger, hurt and other underlying emotional conflicts.

Extreme controlling of weight by binge eating followed immediately by:
  • Bulimic purging from the body - self-induced vomiting or taking laxatives and diuretics, or
  • Non-purging bulimia - fasting or vigorous exercise.

Feeling self-loathing, guilt and shame – is linked to the fear that binge-eating will cause sufferers to gain weight, which means that binge-purge cycles of behaviour are always kept hidden and carried out in secret.

Females in their late teens and early twenties – are most affected but increasingly, also males.

Excessive vomiting or overuse of laxatives - can cause physical problems as a result of severely reduced nutrient intake.

Initial physical symptoms ( as the result of vomiting) include:
  • Facial puffiness / bloodshot eyes
  • Sore throat / swollen glands
  • Heartburn
  • Discoloured teeth / tooth decay
  • Calluses or scars on the knuckles or hands
If the condition continues untreated, further problems can arise, including:
  • Dehydration
  • Rupture of the stomach and the oesophagus
  • Electrolyte imbalance, causing an irregular heartbeat
  • Heart attack, in extreme cases

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Bulimia sufferers are usually a normal weight - because purging after a binge does not remove all the calories consumed. Not only can sufferers keep their behaviour extremely well hidden, bulimia can also be difficult to identify by outward symptoms.

Signs of bulimia include:
  • Lack of control / inability to stop eating - until the point of physical discomfort and pain.
  • Overcritical attitude to weight and shape
  • Secrecy surrounding eating food / eating in private/ food disappearing from the kitchen
  • High amounts of stored junk food / many empty wrappers or food containers in the refuse bin
  • Alternating between overeating and fasting – rarely eating normal meals.

HELP for your bulimia.

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