understanding bulimia

Understanding Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa (bulimia) is an eating disorder, similar in some ways to anorexia in reasoning. However, there are crucial differences. A bulimic person can easily consume 3000-5000 calories in a one hour binge session. If you have bulimia you will binge eat, and then purge yourself, hoping not to keep any of the food down.

This is usually done by induced vomiting, to expel the food from your body before it is digested. About 90%-95% of people with this disorder are female, but there are some males that also suffer from this disorder. It is important to know that bulimia usually affects teenagers and young adults.

If you have bulimia, you may only vomit occasionally or a few times a day, depending on the severity of your case. You may not always binge. You may use diet pills, diuretics or laxatives to prevent the copious amounts of food you consume from causing weight gain. You may also exercise past the point of what would be considered normal or safe, just to ensure there isn’t any gain in weight.

The binging and purging can cause other serious health problems as well. Inflammation can occur in your esophagus, stomach or pancreas. You may suffer from gum disease and tooth decay, caused by vomiting the acids in your stomach.

You can deplete your body’s potassium and water reserves, which may cause muscles spasms, an abnormal heart beat, seizures and sometimes even paralysis. The psychological issues can include despair, confusion, sadness, loneliness, anger, depression, stress, anxiety and even suicidal ideations. Bulimia is the second biggest reason for the deaths of adolescent females.

Bulimia can also cause you to indulge in other forms of impulsive behavior such as abusing drugs and alcohol, going on shopping sprees, shoplifting, self-mutilation, and so on.

If you have bulimia, you will go to extreme lengths to hide it, because it causes you to feel intense shame and self-loathing. Often times you will feel helpless because the urges are so strong.

The reason why bulimics purge is due to the guilt felt after a binge eating session. Low self-esteem adds to the guilt, so you try to undo your binge eating session any way you can. Sadly, this continues in a vicious binge, guilt and purge repeated cycle, over and over.

Purging will not stop people from gaining weight, and this is a reason why many bulimics gain weight over a period of time, even though they purge. If you vomit as soon as you have eaten, that will only get rid of up to 50% of the consumed calories. Often times, that percentage is much less, because the food absorption process starts right away.

Laxatives will only eliminate about 10% of calories, and diuretics are useless. Sometimes, the scales may show that you weigh less, but this is usually water loss, not weight loss.

If you have bulimia, you must seek medical help as soon as possible. You don’t have to fight it on your own, but you do need to ask for help. If you know somebody going through this ordeal, offer to help them deal with the problem today.

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