Bulimia Nervous

An Overview

Bulimia nervous is an eating disorder and mental health condition. People with bulimia are very anxious about their weight and focused on having the ‘right’ body shape. They also spend a lot of time thinking about food.
People with bulimia overeat in a pattern known as ‘binge eating’, meaning they eat a lot of food (or what feels to them like a lot of food) in a short space of time. They then try to avoid digesting the food and gaining weight from it by ‘purging’. There are a number of ways people purge, including making themselves vomit or using laxatives (medication that causes you to poo).

To get rid of calories and prevent weight gain, people with bulimia may use different methods. For example, you may regularly self-induce vomiting or misuse laxatives, weight-loss supplements, diuretics or enemas after bingeing. Or you may use other ways to rid yourself of calories and prevent weight gain, such as fasting, strict dieting or excessive exercise. Repeated binging stretches the stomach and increases the amount of food you are able to eat; however, the human body does have a limit.

In exceptional cases, binging rips the stomach lining and causes stomach acid to spill into the rest of the body, often with fatal results. Bingeing involves eating large amounts of foods high in calories in a short period, usually in two hours. The concerned individual may consume 3000 calories or more. Once this behavior starts, it is hard to stop and cannot be controlled.

You might develop chronic, painful stomach problems as a result of bulimia, such as chronic gastric reflux. Inflammation of the esophagus is also typical.

Types Of Bulimia

Purging Type – This type accounts for a majority of the cases of bulimia. It is characterized by self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives, diuretics, and enemas in an attempt to lose weight after binge eating.
Non-Purging Type – This type of bulimia is characterized by inappropriate actions of over-exercising or excessive fasting after a period of bingeing.

Causes of bulimia

There is no one cause of bulimia. A number of different biological, psychological and sociocultural factors contribute to the development of this condition.

Personality traits are believed to be inherited, and a distinct set of traits has been found to be common among those at highest risk for bulimia. Traits like the following tend to characterize those struggling with bulimia and other eating disorders:

  • Genetics – A family history of the condition
  • Psychological factors – The fear of gaining weight
  •  Medical conditions like depression, anxiety, stress and personality disorders
  •  Hormonal changes
  •  Parenting problems
  •  A history of being bullied
  •  High impulsivity
  •  Low self-directedness
  •  High harm avoidance
  •  Difficulty seeing the “big picture”
  •  Rigidity
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Difficulty with a life transition
  •  A diet gone awry or pressure to lose weight
  •  “Eat healthy” messages from parents, coaches and trainers are common eating disorder triggers

All these factors can trigger bulimia and/or may also increase an individual’s risk of developing it. Many confuse bulimia nervosa with anorexia nervosa, which is also an eating disorder but with different symptoms.

Symptoms for bulimia

If you suspect a loved one has bulimia, there are other signs to look for. A preoccupation with weight, including the fear of gaining weight, is one psychological indicator of bulimia. Bulimia signs and symptoms may include:

  • Being preoccupied with your body shape and weight
  •  Living in fear of gaining weight
  •  Repeated episodes of eating abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting
  •  Feeling a loss of control during bingeing — like you can’t stop eating or can’t control what you eat
  •  Forcing yourself to vomit or exercising too much to keep from gaining weight after bingeing
  •  An inflamed throat
  •  Chronic sores
  •  Damaged teeth
  •  Swollen cheeks
  •  Irregular periods
  •  Using laxatives, diuretics or enemas after eating when they’re not needed
  •  Fasting, restricting calories or avoiding certain foods between binges
  •  Repeatedly eating unusually large quantities of food in one sitting, especially foods the person would normally avoid
  •  Strict dieting or fasting after binge eating
  •  Not wanting to eat in public or in front of others
  •  Going to the bathroom right after eating, during meals or for long periods of time
  •  Exercising too much
  • Using dietary supplements or herbal products excessively for weight loss.


Early diagnosis is important when it comes to bulimia to improve the chances of a good outcome. Diagnosing bulimia can be quite difficult as the individual in question may be in denial or do everything possible to conceal their condition.

  • Uncontrollable periods of recurring binge eating.
  • Purging after unwanted bingeing by vomiting, fasting, over-exercising, and misusing laxatives and other such drugs.
  • The action of bingeing followed by purging has been taking place once a week for the last 3 months.


Therapy is one form of treatment for bulimia and binge eating disorders. By identifying your triggers, a therapist helps you manage stress and avoid the cycle of binging and purging. Group therapy is another option. The sense of community often gives you extra strength to fight your eating disorder.

Behavioral And Cognitive Therapy: To help the patients alter their perception of food, eating, body weight, and appearance. It also aims at helping the patient identify why they are affected by this disorder. Nutritional Counseling: To help break the binge cycle by teaching the patients how to pace their meals and set calorie goals.

Antidepressants are also often prescribed to people with bulimia. Though psychiatric medications are not equally effective for everyone, some people find relief through antidepressants. For severe cases, inpatient treatment is needed to effectively address the behaviors associated with bulimia.

If you have a dual diagnosis, inpatient treatment also serves as a detox facility. The medical staff ensures your body maintains its correct chemical balance while going through detox. If you are severely underweight, you receive tube feeding to become medically stable before starting the rest of your treatment. Like inpatient treatments for other mental illnesses, bulimia inpatient treatment involves daily therapy in both individual and group settings. Bulimia and binge eating disorder treatment often focuses on specific food-related topics.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

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