Bulimia bulimia is a serious, even life-threatening eating disorder. This condition is characterized by episodes of bingeing, followed by unhealthy behaviors that try to avoid weight gain such as vomiting, laxatives, fasting, etc. danger arises.
What is Bulimia bulimia?
Bulimia bulimia (Bulimia Nervosa) is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. People with this condition can eat large amounts of food without controlling their eating. They then try to get rid of excess calories in an unhealthy way to avoid weight gain. Bulimia is very easily confused with Binge Eating Disorder.
To get rid of excess calories and prevent weight gain, people with bulimia can use a variety of methods. For example, often self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives or weight-loss supplements, etc. In addition, after binge eating episodes, they can also fast, follow a strict diet or exercise. exceed.
Anyone can develop bulimia. It is more common in adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, especially in women. However, the disorder has also been diagnosed in children under the age of 5 and the elderly. About 1-4% of people will experience bulimia sometime during their lifetime.
A person with bulimia may always be preoccupied with their weight and body shape. They can judge themselves very severely for the flaws they perceive. Because of its association with self-image, this eating disorder can be difficult to overcome.
However, many people with bulimia can get better with early treatment. Some individuals improve at first but then relapse and need re-treatment. Statistics show that about 50% of people with bulimia can make a full recovery with proper treatment. Meanwhile, another 30% will make a partial recovery and about 10-20% will have to continue to battle the symptoms.
Causes of Bulimia bulimia
Despite many studies, experts still do not know exactly why bulimia bulimia develops. Many factors have been identified that may play a role in the development of this disorder. Such as:
- Genetics: People who have a first-degree relative (parent, child, or sibling) with an eating disorder may be more likely to develop bulimia. This suggests that genetic factors may play a role.
- Biological factors: A 2013 study found that there are differences in brain processing between people with bulimia compared with the general population. In addition, bulimia often occurs during puberty, a time when major hormonal changes and body awareness are developing.
- Environmental factors: People who have been sexually abused or criticized for their bodies or eating habits may be more likely to develop bulimia. Other environmental factors may include social pressures, pressures from sports or other activities that focus on weight.
- Psychological and emotional problems: Binge eating can be closely associated with a number of psychological and emotional problems. Such as depression, anxiety disorder or substance use disorder. People with bulimia often feel negative about themselves.
- Diet: Dieters have a higher risk of bulimia nervosa. Many people with bulimia severely restrict calories between binge eating episodes. This can cause cravings again and then they try to eliminate.
Signs of bulimia nervosa
Bulimia bulimia has a wide range of behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms and signs. As follows:
1. Emotional and behavioral cues
Bulimia bulimia is not only characterized by uncontrolled binge eating and unhealthy elimination, but also causes emotional symptoms such as suffering, shame, and guilt. Emotional and behavioral abnormalities may include:
– Consumption of food faster than expected:
Because of their binge eating habits, people with bulimia tend to consume large amounts of food in a short period of time. You may find that the food is slowly disappearing. You will constantly have to replenish food in the refrigerator and pantry. You can also find food wrappers hidden in trash cans or around the house.
– Eat when no one is around:
Because binge eating is associated with feelings of shame and guilt, people with bulimia will often try to hide their eating behavior. They can eat at midnight or eat when no one else is at home. Many people even bring food to the toilet to eat and perform vomiting immediately afterwards.
– Disappear immediately after a meal:
This is often a sign that a person is trying to get rid of binge eating in some way. It could be vomiting or the use of laxatives or other medications. Warning signs include:
- Turn on the faucet to mask the sound of vomiting after a meal.
- Use different items to mask the smell of vomit on your breath.
- Hide packs of laxatives, diet pills, or weight loss supplements.
- Do private or strenuous exercise alone.
– Becoming more irritable:
People with bulimia may appear inattentive or very irritable. Because their brains are starved of nutrients, they may not think clearly. As a result, they often react in ways that are not appropriate to the situation. This irritability can lead to sudden mood swings or emotional outbursts.
2. Entity Marks
Binge eating is often accompanied by an unhealthy attempt to get rid of excess calories afterward. This can trigger physical symptoms that accompany emotional and behavioral signs. Entities mentioned may include:
- Puffy face: People with bulimia may experience swollen parotid glands due to repeated unhealthy elimination behaviors. These glands are located right in front of the ears and can potentially cause the face to look puffy.
- Callused knuckles: In case people with bulimia constantly stick their fingers down their throat to induce vomiting, it can cause the knuckles to show signs of callousness.
- Significant change in weight: People with bulimia are usually at a normal or higher-than-normal weight. However, due to the cycle of eating and eliminating, their weight can change dramatically in just a short time.
- Broken blood vessels in the eye or eye: Repeated vomiting (attempting to vomit) over a short period of time can increase pressure on the small blood vessels in the eye and face, causing them to burst.
- Dizziness: Improper absorption of nutrients and fluids combined with unhealthy elimination can make people with bulimia feel dizzy. In many cases even fainting.
In fact, people with bulimia often binge eat repeatedly and eliminate food in an unhealthy way at least once a week for three months straight. In addition, they also face feelings of shame, guilt, pessimism, despair, depression or even self-loathing.
Is Bulimia bulimia dangerous?
Every system in your body depends on nutrition and healthy eating habits to function properly. When you disrupt your natural metabolism through binge eating and unhealthy elimination, your body can be severely affected.
Binge eating can cause problems such as:
- Dental problems
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dry skin
- Decreased electrolyte levels and dehydration
- Esophageal rupture due to excessive vomiting
- Stomach and bowel problems
- Irregular menstruation
In fact, women with bulimia often miss their periods. This disorder can have long-term effects on your fertility even if your period returns to normal. The danger is even greater for pregnant women during the phase of active bulimia. The consequences can be miscarriage, stillbirth, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure during pregnancy, birth defects, etc.
Diagnosis of bulimia nervosa
Early diagnosis can help improve the chances of a full recovery. However, diagnosing bulimia can be difficult. Because the patient may have a normal BMI or be overweight. Furthermore, many people are careful to hide their eating habits.
If you seek medical help for bulimia, your doctor may:
- Ask about your mental and physical health
- Review personal and family medical history
- Perform a physical exam
In addition, some diagnostic tests may help rule out other underlying diseases or conditions that may be related to your symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you have bulimia, they may refer you to a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists may use the criteria for bulimia listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. To receive a diagnosis, the following criteria must be met:
- Experiencing repeated episodes of binge eating that they feel out of control.
- Use compensatory strategies to prevent weight gain. Such as fasting, vomiting, excessive exercise, overuse of laxatives, enemas, diuretics, or other medications.
- Have binge eating and excreting at least once a week for the past 3 months.
- Having a sense of self-worth is unduly influenced by weight and body shape.
- No anorexia nervosa.
It is important to note that a person can develop bulimia even if they do not fully meet these criteria. Therefore, doctors need to be flexible in their diagnosis to help patients get the most appropriate and timely intervention.
Treatments for bulimia nervosa
Treating bulimia nervosa is a process that can take time, but the more likely you are to recover, the sooner you intervene. The goal of treatment is to break the pattern of binge eating behavior. Also corrects distorted thought patterns and develops lasting behavioral changes.
Treatment may include the application of psychotherapy methods, measures of care, the use of drugs or even hospitalization if necessary. However, the approach for adults and those under the age of 18 may be slightly different. As follows:
1. Treatment for adults
For adults, the main methods used include:
– Guided help:
You will likely be offered a guided self-help program as a first step in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. This usually involves self-care through a self-help book. Combined with that are working sessions with healthcare professionals.
Self-help books can help you:
- Track what you’re eating: This can help you notice and try to change patterns in your behavior.
- Realistic meal planning: Planning what to eat at what time of day can help you fine-tune your eating plan. Thereby preventing the feeling of hunger as well as reducing binge eating.
- Find out your triggers: This will help you recognize the signs and stop a less-than-healthy cycle of elimination.
- Identifying the underlying cause of your disorder: This can help you deal with your problems in a healthier way.
Alternatively, you can also join an online support group for people with bulimia. If self-help alone isn’t enough or isn’t helping you after 4 weeks, you may also be offered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
CBT involves talking with a psychotherapist. A professional will help you discover emotions and thoughts that may be contributing to bulimia and how you feel about your body shape and weight.
They will help you adopt healthy eating habits regularly. It also shows you how to maintain that eating habit. They will also show you how to manage difficult feelings and situations to prevent the disorder from recurring once therapy is over.
2. Treatment for children and adolescents
For children and adolescents, family therapy is often used. This involves you and your family talking to a psychotherapist. The goal is to find out how bulimia has affected you. Also understand what support your family can offer to help you recover from your illness. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used for children and adolescents just as it is for adults.
It is important that you take good care of your health while recovering from bulimia. If you vomit frequently, the acid in the vomit can damage your teeth over time. Some tips to help you minimize this damage include:
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting so as not to wear away enamel
- Gargle with a non-acidic mouthwash
- Make sure you see your dentist regularly
- Do not drink or eat acidic foods
- No smoking
In many cases, excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration. To avoid this, make sure you drink plenty of water to replace what you vomited.
4. The problem of drug use
Antidepressants should not be offered as the sole treatment for bulimia nervosa. However, you may be offered some antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac) in combination with psychotherapy or self-help treatment.
Medicines can help you manage other conditions. Such as:
- Anxiety or depression
- Social phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Antidepressants are rarely prescribed to children or adolescents under 18 years of age. For adults, when using this drug also need to be cautious. Never stop taking the medicine suddenly without consulting your doctor.
5. In case of hospitalization
Most people with bulimia nervosa can stay home during treatment. Usually the person will have an appointment at the clinic or hospital and then be able to go home.
However, you may be required to be hospitalized if there are serious health complications. Include:
- Too light weight
- Cardiovascular problems
- Seriously ill and life is at great risk
- Under 18 and your doctor thinks you don’t have enough support at home
- Your doctor is worried that you may harm yourself or risk suicide
Doctors will monitor your weight and health very carefully while you are being cared for in the hospital. This will help you slowly gain a healthy weight and start/continue whatever therapy you’re on. Once your doctor is satisfied with your weight and your mental and physical health, you can go home.
Be especially careful with bulimia nervosa, and seek medical help as soon as possible. Early intervention can help people with this disorder get better or make a full recovery. In addition to self-care strategies and medical treatment, help from loved ones is also important.