- 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
- 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