Bulimia is a serious psychological eating disorder that can be life threatening if left untreated. Individuals with this condition live in constant fear of putting on weight and use unnatural ways to get rid of the food, such as intense exercise, taking laxatives or forced vomiting.
This illness is most commonly found in girls in their late teens and early twenties. Individuals with bulimia are often very insecure and constantly seek for the approval of others. Due to this insecurity, food becomes their main comfort.
Bulimia consists of an individual binge eating (compulsively eating a much larger amount of food than normal). This is not because the person is really hungry but more to comfort themselves from other issues such as stress or depression. The foods consumed during this binge eat are usually comfort foods, such as sweets, cakes and chocolate with high values of sugar and lots of calories or high carbohydrate foods.
The sufferer then feels appalled and thinks they have to relieve themselves by getting rid of the food, usually by vomiting shortly after the binge.
Some bulimics will use this method of getting rid of food even if they haven’t had a binge and they just feel they have eaten more than they should have. Many sufferers are deeply ashamed of their behaviour; therefore almost always relieve themselves by forced vomiting in secret.
Bulimia can remain undetected for many years, as the sufferer is usually very secretive about ‘getting rid of their food’. Due to this, the illness itself will only be diagnosed if the individual shows several of the symptoms below.
- Dramatic increased food intake yet no weight change
- The smell of vomit in the bathroom on a number of occasions
- Intense exercise regimen
- Leaving the table immediately after a meal and frequently going to the bathroom
- Isolation from friends or family
- Impulsive behaviour
- Blistering on the knuckles from forced vomiting
- Frail hair or nails and dry skin
- Frequent stomach pains and feeling weak and tired
- Menstrual cycle ending
- Feeling dehydrated
Common Side Effects:
- Tooth discolouration (stomach acid when vomiting)
- Tooth and gum problems
- Dry, fragile bones, hair and nails
- Inflammation of oesophagus (force vomiting)
- Feeling weak, tired and dehydrated
- Broken blood vessels in the eyes
- Isolation from others
- Disruption of menstrual Cycle
- Stomach pain
- Feeling guilty and depressed
Like the majority of illnesses, the longer an individual suffers from it, the worse it becomes which is why it is very important to try and detect bulimia as soon as possible.
Treatment for this disorder can be through either Hypnotherapy or EMDR therapy. Both have been noted to be successful in treating this disorder.