Have you ever thought that someone can eat a lot and then purposely induce vomiting? Do you do that? What may be the reason for such an activity? Is it the weight gain which makes you to do? All the questions have only one answer to it – The very big life threatening mental disorder “Bulimia”. Do you know about it?
Bulimia is an eating disorder in which a person has a regular episodes of eating a very large amount of food (bingeing) during which the person feels a loss of control over eating. The person then uses different ways, such as vomiting or laxatives (purging) to prevent weight gain. It’s when you consistently hate what you look like and compulsively induce vomiting, throw up all the food you eat. After that you eat of course a lot and the whole cycle continues for a long time. Eating disorders are terrifying and no one is immune. Anybody from princess to pauper can fall victim to this life threatening mental illness and celebrities are no exception to this. The very famous fitness guru and Oscar award winner Jane Fonda battled Bulimia for 30 years. Famous singers Lady Gaga and Britney Spears dealt with bulimia right from age of 15 and 16 respectively to prevent weight gain. Bollywood actor, Richa Chadda too battled Bulimia during her initial phase in film industry.
Causes of bulimia are unknown. But it is very peculiar in females than in males. The disorder is most common in teenage girls and young women. The person with bulimia usually knows that their eating pattern is abnormal. They may feel fear or guilt with binge-purge episodes. Genetic, psychological, family, society or cultural factors may play a role, but it is definitely due to more than one factor.
Signs and Symptoms
Physical signs and symptoms of bulimia are:
- Broken blood vessel within the eyes
- Chronic dehydration
- Constant weight fluctuation
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Enlarged glands in the neck and under jaw line
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Oral trauma
Signs and symptoms of binge eating and purging are:
- Buying large amount of food and suddenly their disappearance
- Eating in private
- Frequent use of bathroom after meals
- Having the smell of vomit
- Lack of control when eating
- Using laxatives, enemas or diuretics
If you have any bulimia symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. Talk to your primary care doctor about your bulimia symptoms and feelings. If you are reluctant to seek treatment, you can talk to your friend or your close relative or your loved one. He or she can help you take the first step to get bulimia treatment.
Examinations and Tests
Dental examination can show that person is suffering from bulimia. The patients may show cavity or gum infection. The enamel of the teeth may be worn away.
Physical examination also shows bulimia:
- Broken blood vessels in the eyes
- Dry mouth
- Rashes and pimple
- Small cuts and calluses across the tops of the finger joints from forcing oneself to vomit.
Blood test may show electrolyte imbalance.
Since negative body image and poor self-esteem are often the underlying factors, it is important that the therapy is integrated in the recovery process. Treatment usually includes:
- Discontinuing the binge-purge cycle
- Improving negative thoughts about your weight, body shape and dieting
- The final phase of bulimia treatment focuses on healing from emotional issues that may have caused the eating disorder. Treatment may address interpersonal relationships and can include cognitive behavior therapy, dialectic behavior therapy and other therapies.
For people who are silently struggling with Bulimia, seeing that a celebrity has fought through the same problem and overcome this disorder can bring hope for recovery. The stress of illness can be eased by joining a support group. Sharing with others who have common experience and problems can help you in speedy recovery. So never ignore the symptoms and feel free to open your heart to talk about Bulimia.
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Radha K. Iyer is a contributing writer on Treatum Blog. When she is not writing, she can be found reading health and food blogs or experimenting with her culinary skills.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.