Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia (also known as Bulimia Nervosa), is characterized by an over-preoccupation with food and weight, which results in out-of-control eating patterns, including binge eating and then compensating (or over compensating) for the binge eating.

Because compensatory behavior follows the binge-eating episodes, people with Bulimia usually weigh within the normal range for their age, sex, and height. People with Bulimia often perform the binge eating and compensatory behaviors in secret, feeling disgusted and ashamed when they binge, yet relieved once they purge.

Bulimia was first recognized as a distinct eating disorder (separate from Anorexia) in the 1970s. In 1976, Bulimia Nervosa appeared in psychiatric diagnostic manuals for the first time.

Bulimia Statistics

It is currently estimated that between 1.1% to 4.2% of females living in Western society will suffer from some form of Bulimia at some time during their life.

Approximately one-sixth of Western people with Bulimia are male, so less than 1% of Western males will suffer from some form of Bulimia at some time during their life.

Bulimia Symptoms

Bulimia is characterized by an over-preoccupation with food and weight, which results in various out-of-control eating patterns, such as:

Binge eating, which involves the consumption of large amounts of food within a short period of time. These usually occur secretly, and the person may feel a sense of loss of control and shame following these episodes.

Extreme attempts to compensate for these binges and avoid weight gain by one or more of the following unhealthy and potentially dangerous methods:
self induced vomiting,
misuse of laxatives,
misuse of fluid pills (diuretics),
misuse of diet pills,
misuse of enemas,
intense, excessive and compulsive exercise, and/or,
periods of overly strict dieting or fasting.

Often a disturbed body image is also associated with Bulimia, for example: Undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation.

The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week.

Because compensatory behavior follows the binge-eating episodes, people with Bulimia usually weigh within the normal range for their age, sex, and height. However, just as with Anorexia, people with Bulimia may fear weight gain, they may desire to lose weight, and they may feel intensely dissatisfied with their bodies.

People with Bulimia often perform the binge eating and compensatory behaviors in secret, feeling disgusted and ashamed when they binge, yet relieved once they purge.

In addition to the signs and symptoms for each type of Eating Disorder, a number of warning signs can also indicate the possible development of an Eating Disorder.

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