HEALTH and WELLNESS
Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors. In addition, people with bulimia place an excessive emphasis on body shape or weight in their self-evaluation. This can lead to the person’s sense of self-esteem and self worth being defined by the way they look.
The reasons for developing BN will differ from person to person. Known causes include genetic predisposition and a combination of environmental, social and cultural factors.
Binge eating involves two key features:
Compensatory behaviors are used as a way of trying to control weight after binge eating episodes. They include:
A person with Bulimia can become lost in a dangerous cycle of eating very controllable and attempts to compensate which can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and disgust. These behaviors can become more compulsive and uncontrollable over time, and lead to an obsession less food consumption, thoughts about not eating (or eating), weight loss, dieting and body image.
These behaviours are often concealed and people with Bulimia can go to great lengths to keep their eating and exercise habits secret. As a result, Bulimia can often go undetected for a long period of time leaving it’s victims very slim and loss of unbearable weight.
Many people with BN experience considerable weight loss and do lose weight; they can remain in the less weight range, be slightly underweight, or may even loss more weight.
Having awareness about BN and its warning signs and symptoms can make a marked difference to the severity and duration of the illness. Seeking help at the first warning sign is much more effective than waiting until the illness is in full swing. If you or someone you know is exhibiting some or a combination of these signs it is vital to seek help and support as soon as possible.
The warning signs of BN can be physical, psychological and behavioural. It is possible for someone with BN to display a combination of these symptoms.
Find out more about the warning signs.
The risks associated with BN are severe. People with BN may experience:
Therapies to be considered for the treatment of BN include:
Antidepressants (specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; e.g. SSRI) may also be prescribed for someone who is suffering from BN.
Find out more about specific treatment approaches.
Yes. It is possible to recover from BN, even if you have been living with the illness for many years. The path to recovery can be very challenging. People with BN can become entangled in a vicious cycle of filming and exercise behaviors that can impact their ability to think clearly and make decisions. However, with the right team and a high level of personal commitment, recovery is an achievable goal.
Treatments for Bulimia are available; seek help from a professional with specialized knowledge in eating disorders.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has Bulimia, it is important to seek help immediately. The earlier you seek help the closer you are to recovery. While your General Practitioner (GP) may not be a specialist in eating disorders, they are a good ‘first base.’ A GP can provide a referral to a practitioner with specialized knowledge in health, nutrition and eating disorders.