The National Eating Disorders Association considers bulimia nervosa as an “eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting.” Bulimia nervosa symptoms are very serious and can be life-threatening. Bulimia causes vary widely. They may include poor body image, low self-esteem, a history of family problems and abuse, stress, major life changes, restrictive dieting and personality traits that favor perfectionism. Bulimia treatment methods can help those who struggle with bulimia nervosa symptoms finally break the cycle.
Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms
- Cycles of consuming very large amounts of food, often followed by purging
- Intense feelings of chronic stress and feeling out of control when binge eating
- Self-esteem that is highly dependent on body weight and image
- Constant fluctuations in weight
- Broken blood vessels within the eyes
- Enlarges glands in the neck and under the jaw line
- Chronic dehydration
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Oral trauma, such as lacerations in the lining of the mouth and throat
- Lack of control when eating
- Frequent use of the bathroom after meals
Seek Professional Help
Getting professional help is the first step to recovering from an eating disorder and getting your health back on track. A therapist, doctor and nutritionist may all be part of a treatment plan to address body dysmorphia, anxiety, guilt and other issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing thought patterns, may be especially helpful to those suffering from an eating disorder.
For most people with bulimia nervosa symptoms, purging does not actually result in weight loss. The purging process is more of a mental diet. People purge because in their mind, they are offsetting the calories they consumed. Restrictive dieting is one of the biggest causes of binge eating. Restricting food causes the body to respond with cravings and increased hunger. In order to overcome an eating disorder, it’s important to stop mentally dieting and cultivate a healthy relationship with food.
Focus On Happiness and Health
Eating disorder patients often believe that losing weight equals happiness. Exploring other ways to be happy that aren’t related to body weight is an important part of bulimia treatment. The main emphasis in recovery is feeling better, getting healthier, becoming more relaxed around food and putting forth energy into things that truly matter, like hobbies, spirituality, relationships and career goals.
Support Those Who Are Struggling
Finding the right ways to support someone who has an eating disorder can be difficult. Keep these tips in mind:
- Try to be judgement-free, even if you don’t understand. Be there to listen as your friend or family member deals with a roller coaster of emotions related to their illness and the recovery process.
- Avoid commenting on their weight. Do not praise weight gain or make comments about any weight changes.
- Set a good example by showing your friend or family member what a healthy relationship with food and exercise looks like. Manage your stress levels and take care of your body to set a good example.