Bulimia nervosa, commonly known as bulimia, is an eating disorder. It is particularly common among young women of normal or nearly normal weight, who indulge in episodic binge eating, followed by feelings of guilt, depression, and self-condemnation. It’s often associated with measures taken to either lose weight or prevent gaining weight, such as self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, dieting, or fasting.
It is a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by an intentional vomiting (purging). This vomiting is done in order to compensate for the excessive intake of the food and to prevent weight gain. The sufferer often eats enormous amounts of food at one session, followed by purging. Purging typically takes the form of vomiting, inappropriate use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics or other medication and excessive physical exercise.
Bulimia is often less about food, and more to do with deep psychological issues and profound feelings of lack of control. Binge/purge episodes can be severe, sometimes involving rapid and out of control feeding that can stop when the sufferers “are interrupted by another person” or when their stomach hurts from over-extension. This cycle may be repeated several times a week or, in serious cases, several times a day. Sufferers can often “use the destructive eating pattern to gain control over their lives”.
Some of the consequences of Bulimia are as follows:
- Damage to the voice
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Gum disease and damage to the teeth
- Oesophageal reflux
- Irritation, inflammation and possible rupture of the oesophagus
- Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis
- Dry or brittle skin, hair, and nails or hair loss
- Lanugo (hairs that grow on the body to insulate it because of the lack of fat)
- Oedema (dropsy)
- Digestive problems that may be triggered, including Celiac, Crohn’s Disease
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Iron deficiency, anaemia
- Periods stop
- Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome
- High blood sugar or hyperglycaemia
- Chronic fatigue
- Cancer of the throat or voice box
- Liver failure
…and much more.
As with anorexia, this condition is all about control. THRIVE and/or CPI (cognitive processing and integration) can help to deal with the clients badly managed thinking and then to root out the underlying cause.