Bulimia nervosa, not unlike anorexia nervosa, is a psychiatric disorder that revolves around food. Those with bulimia consume tremendous amounts of food, often thousands of calories, in a short period of time, then purge it from their bodies. Self-induced vomiting is the standard method of purging, though laxative abuse is also extremely common.
These behaviors are incredibly hard on the human body. A person with this disorder may binge, and subsequently purge, between 20 and 30 times a day. The truth is, the body was not designed to take in such a huge volume of food at one time. The medical complications of bulimia include extreme injury to the esophagus, stomach, teeth and intestines as well as damage to the kidneys and heart.
The emotional impact of prolonged bulimia is also severe. Unlike an individual with anorexia who is often proud of her strength and appearance, a girl or woman with bulimia suffers a tremendous amount of shame and guilt over her behavior. Even she knows that the act of consuming thousands upon thousands of calories, then purging, doesn’t make sense. This guilt is intensified by the cost involved with acquiring so much food. It is not unusual for the person to begin stealing the necessary food.
Professional care is usually required to break the highly addictive binge/purge cycle. Bulimia treatment typically begins with outpatient therapy from a counselor experienced in treating eating disorders. Although this can be effective, it is not unusual for patients to require a higher level of care, where their behavior can be monitored.
This article was originally published on RemudaRanch.com
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