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Bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder more commonly known as bulimia, is a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by intentionally doing one or more of the following in order to compensate for the intake of the food and prevent weight gain.
early symptoms of bulimia may include:
- inappropriate use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics or other medication
- excessive exercising
A person is classified as bulimic when he or she feels incapable of controlling the urge to binge, even during the binge itself, when he or she consumes a larger amount of food than a person would normally consume at one sitting, and when such behavior occurs at least twice per week for three months.
Bulimia is a pathology that involves body image and the desperate desire to appear thin. The majority of bulimic patients are young females from 10 to 25 years old, although the disorder can occur in people of all ages and both sexes.
Bulimia is often less about food, and more to do with deep psychological issues and profound feelings of lack of control. Binge/purge episodes can be severe, sometimes involving rapid and out of control feeding that stops when the sufferers "are interrupted by another person...or [when] their stomach hurts from over extension...This cycle may be repeated several times a week or, in serious cases, several times a day." Sufferers can often "see the destructive eating pattern as a way of gaining control over their lives"
Some anorectics may demonstrate bulimic behaviours in their illness: binge-eating and purging themselves of food on a regular or infrequent basis at certain times during the course of their disease. Alternatively, some individuals might switch from having anorexia to having bulimia. The mortality rate for anorectics who practice bulimic behaviors is twice that of anorectics who do not.
The frequency of bulimic cycles will vary from person to person. Some will suffer from an episode every few months while others who are more severely ill may binge and purge several times a day. Some people may vomit automatically after they have eaten any food. Others will eat socially but may be bulimic in private. Many people do not regard their illness as a problem, while others despise and fear the vicious and uncontrollable cycle they are in.
There can be a popular assumption that eating disorders are ‘female diseases’, but the illnesses do not discriminate based on gender, and males can also suffer from them: “even if only 5% of sufferers are male, hundreds of thousands of young men are affected…Studies have been conducted within the homosexual subculture, and have also focussed on males who suffer from anorexia and bulimia. These point to a direct connection between gender identity conflict and eating disorder in males but not in females." This does not indicate that only homosexual males suffer from eating disorders, but there is “ a tendency for eating disorders in males to go unrecognised or undiagnosed, due to reluctance among males to seek treatment for these stereotypically female conditions."
advanced bulimia symptoms may include:
- Electrolyte imbalance, heart arrhythmia, heart failure
- Teeth erosion and cavities
- Sialadenosis (salivary gland swelling)
- Potential for gastric rupture during periods of bingeing
- Irritation, inflammation, and possible rupture of the esophagus
- Laxative dependence
- Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis
- Emetic toxicity due to ipecac abuse
mortality risk of bulimia
Eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of all mental illnesses. The Eating Disorders Association (UK) estimates a 10% mortality rate. An 18% mortality rate has been suggested for Anorexia Nervosa. An addition to the risk of suicide, “death can occur after severe bingeing in bulimia nervosa as well”. For perspective, these death rates are higher than those of some forms of cancer.
Posted by Staff at May 12, 2005 12:56 AMblog comments powered by Disqus
i have been bulimic for 8 years.i suffer very much from this sickness.I am thirty pounds below my normal bodyweight.I am glad to have found the information that i have,it helps to know it's not that I'm not the only person who can't just cut this problem off.I am at my lowest with this disease,and wouldn't have known without reading the symptoms.I hope I can beat this sickness.but it's just cool to be able to read up on it.
Posted by: april at July 31, 2006 10:19 PM