Bulimia is a disorder in which a person binges on food or has frequent episodes of overeating and feels helpless. The person then utilizes various tactics to avoid weight gain, such as vomiting or taking laxatives.
Bulimia affects far more women than men. Adolescent girls and young women are the most affected. With binge-purge episodes, the affected person is usually aware that her eating behavior is aberrant and may experience dread or shame.
Bulimia’s actual cause is unknown. A variety of factors, including genetics, psychology, trauma, family, society, and culture, may play a role. Bulimia is most likely caused by a combination of factors.
Bulimia can cause eating binges to occur multiple times a day for months at a time.
Bulimia patients frequently consume enormous amounts of high-calorie foods in secret. During these episodes, people may sense a loss of control over their eating.
Binges create self-disgust, which leads to purging in order to avoid weight gain. The following are examples of purging:
- Trying to force yourself to vomit
- Excessive activity
- Using laxatives, enemas, or diuretics to relieve constipation (water pills)
It’s common to feel relieved after purging.
Bulimics are frequently of normal weight; however, they may perceive themselves to be overweight. Other individuals may not notice the eating issue because the person’s weight is usually normal.
Other people may notice the following symptoms:
- Suddenly consuming enormous quantities of food or purchasing large quantities of food that are quickly consumed
- Exercise is a compulsive behavior
- Going to the bathroom right after meals on a regular basis
- Taking laxatives, diet pills, emetics (medication that make you vomit), and diuretics
- swollen hands and feet
- Swelling of the face and cheeks due to enlarged glands
Bulimia can have a number of severe and even life-threatening consequences. Complications that may arise include:
- Relationship and social functioning issues, as well as low self-esteem
- Dehydration can cause serious medical issues such as kidney failure.
- Heart disorders such as an irregular pulse or heart failure are among the most common
- Gum disease and severe tooth decay
- Females with irregular or absent menstruation
- Digestive issues
- Anxiety, depression, personality disorders, or bipolar disorder are all examples of mental illnesses
- Misuse of alcohol or drugs
- Suicide, self-injury, or suicidal ideation
Although there is no surefire method to avoid bulimia, you can encourage someone to adopt healthier habits or seek professional help before things get worse. Here’s how you can contribute:
- Encourage and promote a positive body image in your children, regardless of size or form. Assist them in developing confidence in areas other than their physical appearance.
- Maintain a regular schedule of delightful family meals.
- When you’re at home, don’t bring up the subject of weight. Instead, concentrate on leading a healthy lifestyle.
- Encourage people to avoid dieting, especially when it involves dangerous weight-loss methods like fasting, taking weight-loss pills or laxatives, or self-induced vomiting.
The initial step is to consult a physician, who can then refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or nutritionist if necessary.
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), family-based treatment (for children and adolescents), and other types of therapy, are frequently the first steps in treatment. This can help you overcome problematic weight and body image thought patterns, as well as enhance your mood and anxiety.
It’s critical to reestablish appropriate eating habits, and seeking nutrition counseling from a dietician can be quite beneficial.
Antidepressants may be used to help persons with bulimia nervosa manage their anxiety and enhance their mood and self-control.
Home remedies and a healthy lifestyle
Follow these self-care tips in addition to professional treatment:
- Follow your treatment plan to the letter. Don’t skip therapy appointments, and don’t stray from meal plans, even if they’re making you feel nauseous.
- Find out more about bulimia. Knowing more about your disease might help you feel more empowered and motivated to stick to your treatment plan.
- Make sure you eat the correct foods. It’s likely that your body isn’t getting all of the nutrients it needs if you’re not eating well or purging frequently. Consult your primary care physician or a dietician about vitamin and mineral supplements that are right for you. However, it is generally suggested that you acquire the majority of your vitamins and minerals from diet.
- Maintain contact. Avoid isolating yourself from supportive relatives and friends who want to see you succeed. Recognize that they genuinely care about you and that nurturing, loving connections are beneficial to your health.
- Be kind with yourself. Refrain from weighing yourself or checking yourself in the mirror on a regular basis. These may just serve to fuel your desire to continue with your bad habits.
- When it comes to exercise, be cautious. If you exercise excessively to burn off post-binge calories, talk to your primary care provider about what kind of physical activity, if any, is acceptable for you.