Unfortunately, many people in today’s society suffer from a variety of physical and psychological disorders. Perhaps some of the most serious of these types of disorders are eating disorders because not only are they psychological, but they directly affect the individual’s physical health. Bulimia Nervosa is among the most common types of eating disorders that millions suffer from each year.
What Is Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia Nervosa is a serious and life-threatening eating disorder that is typically characterized by the suffering individual ingesting large amounts of food and then later self-inducing vomiting in order to rid the body of the ingested food so that he or she doesn’t end up putting on additional pounds due to the large volumes of previously ingested food. Those individuals who don’t care for self-induced purging, and even those who do, might use large amounts of diuretics or laxatives to coax their bodies into emptying the contents of their stomachs. Additionally, people who suffer from Bulimia Nervosa might also engage in extremely long periods of exercise to help them burn any calories they’ve consumed during a binging episode. Many people who suffer from Bulimia Nervosa commit their binging and purging episodes in secret, so they are oftentimes able to conceal their illness from others for long periods of time.
Causes of Bulimia Nervosa
Although the exact cause of Bulimia Nervosa isn’t known, there are various factors that psychologists and other medical experts believe contribute to the development of this disease. Some of the factors are considered genetic and psychological while others are considered environmental or cultural. Among the most commonly known factors that contribute to Bulimia Nervosa are a negative body image, need for control, stressful transitions or life changes, poor self-esteem or being a member of a profession or activity that places a high focus on body image.
Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
Although many people who suffer from Bulimia Nervosa are able to keep their conditions hidden, there are many signs and symptoms that friends, family members and others can look for to help them determine whether a friend, family member or someone they know in general is suffering from Bulimia Nervosa. Some of those signs and symptoms that medical professionals look for include the following: • Fluctuations in weight • Broken blood vessels in the eyes • Imbalance in electrolytes • Enlarged glands in the neck and underneath the jaw line • Oral trauma like lacerations inside the mouth • Chronic dehydration • Peptic ulcers • Esophagus inflammation • Chronic gastric reflux • Infertility
Some of the signs and symptoms that friends, family members and others can look for include the following: • Sudden disappearances in large amounts of food • Lack of control when eating • Eating in secrecy • Frequent switches between fasting and overeating • Frequently smelling of vomit • Frequent use of the bathroom after meals • Avoidance of social activities
Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa
Fortunately, there are treatment methods that have been proven to help those who suffer from Bulimia Nervosa, although there is not one perfect cure for it. Oftentimes, the type of treatment required for Bulimia Nervosa consists of intense therapy that targets the underlying causes of an individual’s Bulimia Nervosa. The first step in treating Bulimia Nervosa, though, is to discontinue the binge and purging cycle of the disease since this is the most physically harmful part of it. Breaking this harmful cycle and restoring normal eating behaviors consists of the first phase of treating Bulimia Nervosa.
The second phase of treatment usually consists of ridding the individual of any negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are oftentimes a huge part of the Bulimia Nervosa eating disorder, so getting the individual to think positively and change his or her irrational beliefs about weight, dieting and body shaping is important. Finally, the last phase consists of dealing with the underlying emotional issues that caused the development of the disease. This entails developing a positive body image and dealing with any interpersonal relationship factors, stress factors or any other factors that caused the individual to binge or purge.
NEDA. “Bulimia nervosa.” Retrieved on February 10, 2016, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/bulimia-nervosa.
Eating Disorder Hope. “Bulimia nervosa: Causes, symptoms, signs & Treatment help.” Retrieved on February 10, 2016, from http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/bulimia.
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