Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder caused by underlying emotional problems and is characterized by a vicious cycle of binging and purging, which ultimately harms the physical and emotional well-being of the person.

It affects 1%-3% of adolescent population in the United States and is more common in females than in males. The cycle can be broken with proper treatment, thereby resetting a healthier relationship with food and regaining the emotional balance.

Some of the signs of the onset of bulimia are: obsession with body and body weight, preoccupation with dieting, compulsive eating accompanied by the sense of guilt and shame; and taking laxatives to lose weight.

Usually tension or depression creates uncontrolled craving for food followed by purging, dieting or exercising to avoid weight gain.

The bulimics try to conceal their binge and purge cycle because of shame and those who are living with them do not easily notice the symptoms, though may sense that something is amiss.

However, it may be noticeable that the person concerned consumes unusually large amounts of food, often secretly, alternating between overeating and fasting.

Some signs of purging can be noticed when the person concerned spends a lot of time in the bathroom after eating; uses laxatives, diuretics, or enemas; and smells of omit.

Some physical signs of abuse can be noticed in the form of scars on knuckles caused by sticking fingers down the throat to induce omitting, and puffy cheeks because of frequent vomiting.

Strict and rigid dieting triggers the destructive cycle as the body craves for more food to supplement the depleted nutrients. Any slip-up in the dietary phase restarts the binge phase because of the all-or-nothing mindset of the bulimic.

What the bulimic does not realize is that purging is not an effective means of losing calories and laxatives are even less effective as they get rid of only 10% of the calories eaten , which eventually ends up in gaining more weight.

Common medical symptoms of the condition are weakness and dizziness, abdominal pain and bloating, sore throat and hoarseness of voice and chronic constipation from laxative abuse.

Treatment includes nutritional and psychological counselling by trained professionals in order to tackle the underlying emotional issues like anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation accompanied by low self-esteem and poor body image. The person needs compassion, understanding and family support. The person has to be convinced to stop dieting in order to break the vicious cycle.

Article Written by Dolphi D'Silva [419 Words]
Posted on Oct 24, 2013 with Views.

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