Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is one of many complex mental health conditions. Like other disorders, bulimia is governed by a feeling of compulsion that causes sufferers to engage in behaviors they understand to have negative consequences. A severe psychological disorder, bulimia affects physical health in numerous ways, but most seriously, it can lead to loss of life. Someone suffering from bulimia requires treatment by a certified healthcare provider who specializes in the field of eating disorders.
Overview of Bulimia
A person suffering from bulimia repeatedly engages in binge eating and purging by some means such as vomiting or using laxatives. Non-purging bulimia involves binge eating that’s followed up by periods of fasting or intensive exercise. Psychiatrists cannot pinpoint a single cause of this disorder, but instead, believe it rises from a number of causes that may include having a negative body image, having little to no self-esteem, suffering a traumatic incident, experiencing a form of abuse, or engaging in a pursuit or job that requires a certain appearance or weight range. A person with bulimia will often binge and purge in secret, lack control when eating, and exhibit patterns of binge-ing and fasting.
What Are the Effects of Bulimia?
Bulimia can have dramatic health effects on the body. Binge eating and purging can cause:
- Broken blood vessels beneath the eyes
- Continual weight fluctuations
- Tooth decay
- Electrolyte imbalances (this can cause cardiac arrest)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Oral trauma
- Esophageal inflammation
- Gastric reflux
- Mood swings
- Bloody vomit
- Organ damage
Some health issues like organ damage may be permanent, so it’s important for sufferers to get into treatment as soon as possible in order to prevent serious health issues from occurring as a result of this eating disorder. Many sufferers of bulimia require psychotherapy and, in many cases, medication. The combination of therapy, psychotherapy, and antidepressant drugs, for instance, can help sufferers manage their compulsions. Family therapy can also be helpful.
In some cases, hospitalization is required to help a person manage this disorder and any associated health conditions. A certified treatment centers that specializes in eating disorders like bulimia can help individuals achieve long-term recovery.