Bulimia Nervosa – Cause, Symptoms and Treatment
The eating disorder called bulimia nervosa is a combination of two bouts – first of a binging bout followed by a bout of purging. Bulimia patients can’t control eating but after that they get scared of gaining weight and so, try purging. A bulimia patient may be underweight, overweight or obese. It is extremely essential to get treatment for bulimia, otherwise you may undergo serious consequences.
Causes of Bulimia
- Low self-esteem
- A physical illness too can cause bulimia
- Being sexually abused can also be a cause of bulimia, so also problematic childhood, criticism, arguments, etc may give rise to bulimia
Symptoms of Bulimia
A bulimia patient may eat over 2,000 calories in a single sitting and then try to wipe the food out by vomiting or other ways, like laxatives, excessive workout, fasting, enemas, or combination of two or more purging methods.
If you have a doubt that your loved one may have bulimia, there are certain ways to find it out.
The person may be over-obsessed with a fear of weight gain.
Bulimic patients also eat by themselves and then try to hide the evidences of eating. If unusual amount of food is vanishing from your kitchen and lots of food boxes, packets and wrappers are seen in trash cans, the person is binging. Bulimic patients induce vomiting immediately after eating; so, you will also see marks on their hands and face of their fingers and burst blood vessels.
If your dear one is spending abnormal period of time in bathroom or exercising in gym, talk to her/him.
The activities of binging and purging again and again bring severe stress to the body.
Frequent binging puts excessive stretch on your stomach and increases the portion size of food you can eat. But the human body has a limit. It can happen, though exceptionally, that binging tears open the stomach lining causing stomach acid to ooze out into the other system of the body, giving fatal results.
As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness, our heart is not made to stand daily vomiting or laxative use. And so, the stress you put on your heart with frequent binging and purging, can cause heart palpitations, heart attacks, arrhythmias and even death. Frequent vomiting may erode the enamel on your teeth, resulting in yellow teeth, fast tooth decay and mouth sensitivity. Bulimia also may cause fertility problems in women.
Bulimia may also make your stomach chronically painful and chronic gastric reflux occurs commonly in bulimia patients. Other stomach problems bulimia can cause are esophagitis (inflammation of esophagus) and gastroparesis (paralysis of stomach muscles). And these chronic problems may not go immediately even after you come out of bulimia.
Bulimia is primarily treated by a therapist. A therapist identifies your triggers and helps in managing stress and avoiding recurrent cycles of binging and purging.
Another option is group therapy. The feeling of being in community and not alone increases strength to fight the bout of binging.
Doctors may also prescribe antidepressants to bulimic patients. Though these medicines do not act effectively for everyone, they may give relief to some patients.
EatFed.com.au is a center for treating eating disorder NSW. Their vision is to reduce the stigma of women with eating disorders and to change the way of treatment of these disorders in Australia.