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What is bulimia nervosa? What are the signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder.
• This disorder is characterized by binge eating and purging, or consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time.
• Bulimia is felt to be related to a person’s dissatisfaction with their own body image.
• Bulimia is diagnosed according to defined criteria.
• There are two types of bulimia: the purging and nonpurging types.
• Bulimia can have serious medical complications.
• The successful treatment of bulimia is often multidisciplinary involving both medical and psychological approaches.
• The goals of treatment are to restore physical health and normal eating patterns.

This is followed by an attempt to rid oneself of the food consumed (purging), typically by:
– vomiting
– taking a laxative
– diuretic

The nonpurging type engages in other inappropriate behaviors
– fasting
– excessive exercise
– commonly accompanied with fasting over an extended period of time
• Bulimia nervosa is considered to be less life threatening than anorexia.
• The occurrence of bulimia nervosa is higher.
• Bulimia nervosa is nine times more likely to occur in women than men.
• The vast majority of those with bulimia nervosa are at normal weight.
• Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, are widely used in the treatment of bulimia nervosa.
• Patients who have bulimia nervosa are often linked with having impulsive behaviors.

This involves:
– overspending
– sexual behaviors
– having family histories of alcohol and substance abuse
– mood
– eating disorders

Signs and symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

– rapid and out-of-control eating.
– self-induced vomiting.
– other forms of purging.
– chronic gastric reflux after eating.
– dehydration and hypokalemia caused by frequent vomiting.
– electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, and even death.
– esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus.
– boerhaave syndrome, a rupture in the esophageal wall due to vomiting.
– oral trauma.
– gastroparesis or delayed emptying.
– constipation.
– infertility.
– enlarged glands in the neck, under the jaw line.
– peptic ulcers.
– calluses or scars on back of hands due to repeated trauma from incisors.
– constant weight fluctuations are common.
– the erosion on the lower teeth was caused by Bulimia.
– severe dental erosion.
– perimolysis, or the erosion of tooth enamel.
– swollen salivary glands.
– constant vomiting can lead to gastroesophageal reflux.
– dry skin.
– loose skin.
– thin or dull hair.
– swollen salivary glands.
– bloating or fullness.
– lack of energy.

The person may also suffer physical complications such as:
– Tetany
– Epileptic seizures
– Cardiac arrhythmias
– Muscle weakness

Other common signs

– Is very secretive about eating and does not eat around other people.
– Sneaks food or hides food in the house. You may notice that large amounts of food are missing.
– Has frequent weight changes.
– Has irregular menstrual cycles.
– Seems preoccupied with exercise.
– Often talks about dieting, weight, and body shape.
– Seems to be overusing laxatives and diuretics.

Related disorders
– Depression
– General anxiety disorder
– Substance abuse

Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery The Overcoming Bulimia Workbook Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder

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