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Bulimia Eating Disorder
What is bulimia?
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder. If you have bulimia nervosa, you eat larger amounts of food than most people would eat in a short time, then you purge by making yourself vomit or using laxatives. Purging is meant to make up for binging.
Most bulimics have a normal weight, but you feel you lack control over your eating behavior. You often feel that your life is controlled by conflicts about eating.
Although the disorder can affect men, most people with bulimia nervosa are young women.
How does it occur?
The exact cause of bulimia nervosa is not known. Some researchers believe that eating disorders may be related to problems with the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and appetite.
If you have bulimia nervosa you may:
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of bulimia include:
How is it diagnosed?
Your health care provider takes a medical history and does a physical exam. He or she will ask about your eating patterns, looking for such behavior as:
How is it treated?
If you have bulimia, you must recognize that you are suffering from a dangerous disorder. Treatment involves getting your eating habits back to normal. Your health care provider may recommend psychotherapy or family counseling. He or she may prescribe medicine used for mood disorders, such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers.
How long will the effects last?
The risk of relapse exists for years after treatment ends. Without treatment, you may become depressed and suicidal.
How can I take care of myself?
What can be done to help prevent bulimia?
Many bulimics do not feel good about themselves. You can raise your self-esteem and thus prevent or minimize bulimia if you: