Bulimia is characterized by excessive or compulsive consumption of food (bingeing) accompanied by the act of getting rid of the food consumed (purging). Individuals suffering from bulimia often describe their struggle as feeling a complete loss of control when eating. This feeling leads to a regular intake of an excessive amount of food in a short period of time, ending with the ridding of the food through purging. The compensatory behaviors of purging include self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, periods of fasting, and/or excessive or compulsive exercise episodes.

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

  • Chronic sore throat

  • Heartburn/reflux

  • Swollen cheeks and neck

  • Bloating

  • Fatigue/Faint

  • Dry skin

  • Muscle cramping

  • Gum disease/bleeding

  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes and/or face

  • Discoloration of teeth

  • Calluses on knuckles and/or back of hands (from self-induced vomiting)

  • Fluctuation in weight

 

BEHAVIOR SYMPTOMS

  • Bingeing and Purging

  • Consuming a large amount of food in a short period of time

  • Preoccupation with food & body weight,

  • Hoarding food/Hiding food

  • Frequent visits to the bathroom (especially after eating)

  • Secretive eating (finding food wrappers in bedroom/bathroom)

  • Abuse of laxatives, diuretics, and/or diet pills

  • Excessive exercising

  • Isolation from friends and family

  • Shame & Guilt related around eating behaviors

  • Poor self esteem

Coexisting disorders may be present in a diagnosis of Bulimia. Insure a complete evaluation for the eating disorder, to identify any co-morbid/coexisting disorders.

Psychiatric conditions commonly co-occurring with bulimia may be combined with:

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Depression

  • Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)

  • Panic/Anxiety disorders

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Substance Abuse Disorder

Individuals too often do not understand the true dangers associated with bulimia. Perhaps because extreme weight loss is not evident and physical symptoms may go unnoticed, however, health complications are extremely high with individuals engaging in bingeing/purging episodes.

COMMON HEALTH CONCERNS

  • Dehydration

  • May lead to Type 2 Diabetes/Pancreatitis

  • Electrolyte Imbalance

  • Lining of stomach torn

  • Chronic Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • Gastrointestinal complications

  • Esophagus inflammation and perhaps rupture

  • Chronic Kidney problems

  • Seizures

Although these are typical symptoms please note, not all must be present to exhibit the severity of the eating disorder.

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