Suffering from Bulimia? Need help?

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

"Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g. binge-eating), and feeling a lack of control over the eating" (ANAD, 2014). “This binge-eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g. vomiting, excessive us of laxatives or diuretics), fasting and/ or excessive exercise” (ANAD, 2014).

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The primary symptoms of this disorder include the constant food addiction, eating large amounts of food at one sitting, immediately going to the bathroom to get rid of the food through vomiting, teeth decay due to the acidity, excessive exercising, constant use of diet pills, laxatives, and diuretics. This disorder affects women compared to men, and affects all cultures, and ethnic groups.


What are the causes?

A bulimia sufferer does not necessarily have a weight problem, may actually be within the proper height/weight range, however they suffer from low self-esteem, possible depression, substance abuse issues, and other psychological illnesses. The constant vomiting affects their body by removing electrolytes, damaging the esophagus and internal gastrointestinal area.

What are the treatments?

Seeking medical attention is very important for Bulimia nervosa. “Similar to other eating disorders, therapy is a cornerstone of treatment in bulimia nervosa” (Duckworth & Freedman, 2013). “Individual therapy can include a wide-variety of techniques: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical therapy (DBT) have been shown in scientific studies to decrease the symptoms of bulimia nervosa” (Duckworth & Freedman, 2013). Additional nutritional guidance is important because a lifestyle change needs to happen where a person is required to incorporate small amounts of healthy food back into their diet without binging or vomiting. This takes time and patience and requires the family involvement for success. Counseling for what is causing the bulimia will help determine the main cause. This is not a disorder which someone wakes one day and decides I want to become bulimic, it is an epidemic that has developed for months and continues until either the person gets really ill or the family finds out. Either way it is important to find a solution.

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speaking honestly to your healthcare professional is the first step to treatment and diagnosis. Most patients are embarrassed by their behavior or do not want to be honest about the binging and vomiting, so it is important to speak up and get this disorder treated before it causes any more damage.

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bulimia Nevosa

  1. “Bulimia is always associated with vomiting- Bulimia is defined by a binge-and-purge behavior” (McCarty, 2013). “After eating, an individual suffering from bulimia will attempt to purge his or her body through any number of means” (McCarty, 2013). Vomiting is one of the methods for this but there are also laxatives and diuretics that help with the purging,

  2. “Only women suffer from bulimia” (McCarty, 2013)- It is more common for women to suffer from this disorder, however men are also prone to bulimia, they just hide it better by following a different lifestyle such as incorporating sports.

  3. Children or Teens suffer from this disorder as well and usually will continue throughout their adult life unless treated. It is not a disorder that goes away as they grow, but needs to be addressed and treated as soon as possible.

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Need help? You can get the support you need by contacting your physician, an eating disorder counselor or your local support group. Don't wait, call now!


Duckworth, K. & Freedman, J.L. (2013). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved September 14, 2014

McCarty, T. (2013). Huffpost Healthy Living. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from

National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD). (2014). Bulimia Nervosa. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

WebMD. (2014). Slideshow: A visual guide to understanding eating disorders. Retrieved September 13, 2014 from