Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
It is generally considered a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by an intentional purging. Bulimia is often less about food, and more to do with deep psychological issues and profound feelings of lack of control. People with bulimia nervosa often feel a lack of control during their eating binges.
Their food is usually eaten secretly and gobbled down rapidly with little chewing. bulimia nervosa typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood. Like anorexia nervosa, bulimia mainly affects females.
Only ten percent to 15 percent of affected individuals are male. It is believed that more than five million individuals experience an eating disorder in this country alone. It is ten times more common in women than men, with greatest prevalence occurring in adolescents and college-age young adults.
The disease can persist for years, and in some people the symptoms may be present all their lives. There are two types of bulimia nervosa, purging type and non-purging type. A person with bulimia may be thin, overweight, or have a normal weight. This makes it hard to know if someone has bulimia. But there are warning signs to look out for.
While some cases of bulimia nervosa are short-lived, usually the symptoms will be present for some months or years before a sufferer seeks help. The common behaviors of the purging type include the use of self-induced vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics.
Non-purging bulimics use other compensatory behaviors including fasting and excessive exercise to prevent weight gain.
People with bulimia often need several types of treatment. If their life is in immediate danger, they may need treatment in a hospital emergency department for such issues as dehydration, electrolyte imbalances or severe psychiatric problems.
Causes of Bulimia nervosa
The common causes and risk factor’s of Bulimia nervosa:
- As with anorexia, there is currently no definite known cause of bulimia.
- Traumatic events like rape, as well as stressful things like starting a new job, can lead to bulimia.
- Genes, hormones, and chemicals in the brain.
Symptoms of Bulimia nervosa
Some sign and symptom related to Bulimia nervosa are as follows:
- Swollen cheeks or jaw area.
- Feeling ashamed of overeating and very fearful of gaining weight.
- Depressive moods.
- Feelings of helplessness.
- A person with bulimia nervosa reacts to emotional stress by overeating.
- Fear of becoming fat.
Treatment of Bulimia nervosa
- Anti-psychotics are also used, but in smaller doses than are used for treating schizophrenia. With an eating disorder, the patient perceives reality differently and has difficulty grasping what it is like to eat normally.
- Sometimes a combination of psychological therapy and drug therapy is used.
- Other types of antidepressants, including the monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and buspirone have all been shown to decrease bingeing and vomiting in people suffering from bulimia.
- Some patients may require hospitalization due to the extent of the medical or psychological complications.