Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder where a person is extremely concerned and obsessed with their weight but at the same time can’t control the compulsion to binge. A person with bulimia often lives with a world of shame, secret and self-disgust and may have addition like relation with food. Bulimic individuals are pre-occupied with episodes of binging and purging, where they eat large amounts of food and then try to get rid of the extra calories by unhealthy ways like self-induced vomiting and excessive exercise. This vicious cycle of binging and purging not only takes a toll on the body but also is harder on the emotional well-being.
Signs of Bulimia
The main goal in the mind of a person with bulimia is to prevent weight gain at the same time have a good body shape.
They form an addition-like relation with the food where they are mentally forced to binge, which is followed by some methods of self-induced purge. Binging is eating large amount of food till a person is painfully full for example eating a whole cake instead of a piece or two. Sometimes a person with bulimia may feel an urge to purge even after eating a small sized meal or a small snack. Some of the physical signs and symptoms of bulimia include damaged teeth and gums, bloating, fatigue, dehydration, dry skin, abnormal functioning of the bowel, swollen salivary glands in the cheeks, sore mouth and throat, irregular heartbeat and amenorrhea or menstrual irregularities. Some behavior and emotional bulimia signs includes constant dieting, eating till painfully full, exercising for hours on end, laxative/diuretics/enema misuse, binge episodes with a feeling of eating food that cannot be controlled, hoarding of food, anxiety, depression, and using washroom often after eating or during eating.
Causes of Bulimia
There are different types of bulimia causes which play a role in developing this eating disorder like many other mental illness, however a specific cause for bulimia is still unknown.
- Biological cause Some individuals are genetically susceptible in developing bulimia nervosa; however a possible genetic link is not still clear. But a twin sister or a biological mother or sister with an eating disorder is at a higher risk of getting this disorder. A naturally occurring brain chemical serotonin is also believed to have an influence on eating behaviors as it is linked to regulation of food intake.
- Psychological cause People with bulimia may have some emotional as well as psychological characteristics like low-self esteem or extreme perfectionism. They may also have trouble in controlling anger; have impulsive behaviors and mood swings. There may even be a history of sexual abuse and the families of people with bulimia may tend to have more criticism and conflicts.
- Socio cultural - Western modern culture creates a desire to become thin, and peer pressure often fuels this desire among young girls.