Bulimia Nervosa

  • Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge eating) and feeling a lack or control over the eating.
  • This binge eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting, and/or excessive exercise.
  • Usually, bulimic behavior is done secretly because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame. The binging and purging cycle usually repeats several times a week.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Fear of gaining weight, intense desire to lose weight, profound unhappiness with body size and shape
  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck and below the jaw
  • Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acids
  • Fasting
  • Excessive exercise
  • Severe dehydration from purging fluids

Other illnesses and complications:

  • Co-existing psychological illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and/or substance abuse
  • Many physical conditions result from the purging aspect of the illness, including electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and tooth-related problems
  • Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • Kidney problems from diuretic abuse