Bulimia, although often associated with a person's "life choice," is a very serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Bulimia is a disorder that disrupts the normal diet, bringing with it a chaotic change of excessive food intake and the so-called "purification" of the body from food. After the phase of excessive food intake, there is an almost panic need to get rid of everything that was ingested during the meal. By forcing vomiting or using laxatives, a person really throws out what he has eaten. Similar to anorexia, the pattern of "cleansing" can be exercised by sufferers through excessive exercise and starvation. Unlike anorexia, which is more often associated with younger ages, bulimia can also occur in adulthood. A large number of cases were not diagnosed and did not receive adequate, necessary treatment. Both sexes, both men and women, can get bulimia.
What are the causes of bulimia?
Although it is a popular opinion that eating disorders are a consequence of diet, which actually puts a person with bulimia in the position of the culprit for the disease, no diet can be transformed into an eating disorder just like that. The tendency to follow a model of weight loss can lead to the fact that a person who has already developed an eating disorder, feels as if he can be happy only if he follows that model. Again, this is a distorted picture of self-worth. In addition to the above, significant factors that can contribute to the development of this disorder are: difficulty expressing feelings (so feelings are expressed through the attitude towards food), abuse (physical, mental and sexual) during childhood, complicated and difficult family relationships.
One day a person with bulimia
Most people who suffer from bulimia can remember the first time that excessive food intake was associated with purification. Although they are aware of the damage they inflict on themselves, in that period, this behavior brought great relief. Bulimia gives the false feeling that a person has control over their life: if I can eat whatever I want without gaining weight, I have control. However, the truth is quite the opposite. It is bulimia that takes control of a sick person's life. It controls what and how much a person will eat, when to stop eating food, what patterns of cleansing the body they will resort to. Emotions, behaviors, social relationships become subordinate to the relationship with food and images of one's own body. Exhaustion, both physical and mental, prevents a person from engaging in other important life tasks. Close people often step out of the position of misunderstanding, with the question of how someone can be so destructive for themselves. This is a question that people with bulimia also ask themselves, and it is difficult for them to understand how the disease controls them.
Excessive food intake and purification of the organism on the seesaw
Excessive food intake usually takes place in secret, when the person is alone and usually at home. Some people plan this episode carefully and have food prepared, while some people take any food available. Thoughts are occupied by not discovering this activity, and eating the food they bought or prepared at high speed, with the presence of fear that other people will find out what they are doing. Sometimes the phase is started unexpectedly, after the person has been exposed to some sudden event, increased anxiety or loneliness. It can also be played outside the home, starting with food intake with other people, and then continuing in privacy (“I have already eaten more than I should, nothing changes that I will continue to eat”). During this phase, the person feels completely out of control, which is accompanied by physiological and psychological discomfort after eating.
Purification occurs as an activity triggered by feelings of guilt and panic after excessive food intake. The feeling of shame ("I disgust myself") is overwhelming. Fear of obesity, unattractiveness to others and changes in the body due to everything they ate, instantly triggers activities aimed at purifying the body. Vomiting, the use of laxatives and extreme, excessive exercise are the most common activities that a person will resort to.
What are the consequences of bulimia?
Bulimia can cause many health problems: damage to teeth, digestive organs, menstrual cycle disorders in women, damage to the heart and kidneys, bloating of the face and fingers, increased hairiness of the face and body. If a woman is pregnant and has bulimia, serious consequences can occur for both the mother and the baby. Unsupportive attitude, the lack of understanding of close people that a woman is in a state in which she needs professional help in order to protect her own life and the life of a child, only aggravate the problem.
How to recognize a person suffering from bulimia?
Bulimia is a secret condition, without excessive oscillations in weight, it is not as visible on the outside as anorexia, and those who are ill can maintain a picture of success and health in front of others. Some of the specific patterns are avoiding eating in company, under various pretexts. If a person still eats with others, then he will find an excuse to quickly disappear to the toilet. Fatigue, avoidance of socializing, longer or frequent stay in the toilet are also some of the signs that may indicate a problem.
How to treat bulimia nervosa
As with anorexia, the therapy involves the involvement of a team of experts: psychiatrist, psychologist, nutritionist, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, due to the complex consequences it can cause. Psychotherapy is an indispensable part of the process of treating and preventing the recurrence (recurrence) of the disease. It is useful for a person living alone to be with family or friends for a while during the fight against bulimia, in order to get out of secrecy and planned stages of overeating. The presence of other, close people also enables the opening of a story about feelings, which is the key to getting out of a problem.