Bulimia Nervosa - Health Center

Bulimia Nervosa

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Bulimia Nervosa - Overview

Bulimia Nervosa, which is also known as Bulimia, is a very serious and life threatening eating disorder. Though this disease cannot be diagnosed on the basis of the external appearance of the person, this can come out to be one of the potentially fatal disorders, if left untreated.

People suffering from Bulimia when out in the public, would be consuming a normal amount of food, but would be secretly trying to get rid of the calories later on.

For instance, they would either vomit out or would be exercising to get rid of all the calories.

Bulimia has been categorized into two major categories:

  • Purging Bulimia: In this, the affected person induces vomiting or uses laxatives in order to get rid of the calories.
  • Non Purging Bulimia: In this, the person uses other methods such as fasting, exercises or a strict dieting regimen in order to keep a tab on their calorie intake.

Often, in most of the cases, these methods overlap as the affected person desperately tries to get rid of the calories, no matter what the method is!

A person who is suffering from Bulimia is obsessed with the idea of losing weight and cares a lot about their self image in the public. Since this disease is related to both the self image as well as eating habits, it can be very difficult to treat.

The treatment options which are provided for the curing Bulimia are made in order to improve the self image of the person and well as to inculcate good eating habits and patterns.

Causes of Bulimia

The exact reason for the occurrence of Bulimia is unknown. However, there could be many factors which are responsible for the formation of this eating disorder.

Biological reasons, emotional reasons as well as peer pressure and social expectations are some of the major reasons for the occurrence of Bulimia.

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia

Some of the major symptoms which prove that a person is suffering from Bulimia are as follows:

  •   An increased and consistent preoccupation with the shape and weight of the body
  •   Fear of putting up weight
  •   Fear of an inability to control the weight
  •   Eating too much or too little food
  •   Inducing vomiting
  •   A very strict exercise regimen
  •   Excessive use of laxatives and enemas
  •   Use of products for weight loss

It is recommended to see a doctor as soon as some of these symptoms are visible in a person. In case Bulimia is left untreated, it can take a turn for the worse and can even prove fatal in some cases.

Tests and Diagnosis of Bulimia

Primarily, some of the tests and diagnostic techniques are as follows:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood and urine tests
  • A psychological evaluation test

In some of the rare cases, the doctors may be doing an X Ray as well in order to look for any broken bones or heart problem.

According to the DSM Model, in order to pronounce a person to be suffering from Bulimia, he should be meeting with the following below mentioned criteria:

  • Abnormal eating patterns such as either consuming a large amount of food or no food at all.
  • An attempt to get rid of the extra calories by either indulging in vomiting, exercising, fasting, laxative use, enema or other exercises.
  • Purging and binging every week for a few months consistently.
  • Worrying about the body shape and weight and associating it with feelings of self worth

In case a person is suffering from any or more than one of these symptoms then he is ascertained to be suffering from Bulimia.

Treatments for Bulimia

When a person has been diagnosed with Bulimia, then they would be needing a multitude of treatments which combine both psychotherapy along with a dose of antidepressants.

  • Psychotherapy: In this, the person is involved in talking about his disease with the mental health provider. This combines the best of counselling and psychosocial therapy. In this, the person is taught to recognize the unhealthy as well as negative beliefs, along with helping the person to improve the communication as well problem solving skills. Also, the patients are learning to deal with stress as well as work on their emotions. Psychotherapy is known to be greatly effective in order to deal with Bulimia as it helps the person to understand that it is beneficial to eat.
  • Medications: These are prescribed along with the psychotherapy. Antidepressants such as Prozac and SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) are prescribed to the person.
  • Nutrition Education: If a person is severely underweight, then the first goal of the treatment is to make sure that he gains a healthy weight back. Therefore, an eating plan is often designed by the doctors and that helps the patient to return back to normal eating habits along with a healthy weight gain.
  • Hospitalization: in some of the rarer and more severe forms, a person may be hospitalized if the patient is suffering from serious health complications which may prove to be fatal, if left untreated.
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