A person with bulimia has not made a “lifestyle choice”, they are actually very unwell and need help.
Bulimia can be a dangerous eating disorder, as it is often not easily recognised by other people.
People with bulimia often appear to be a normal weight, but they have powerful urges to overeat which they alternate with periods of either starving themselves or employing a compensatory behaviour to balance out the episodes of binge eating.
The reasons for developing bulimia are different from person to person. However, some known causes include genetic predisposition, environmental, social and cultural factors.
People with bulimia place an excessive emphasis on body shape or weight in their self-evaluation. This can lead to the person’s sense of self-esteem and self worth being wholly defined by the way they look.
Binge eating involves two key features:
Compensatory behaviours are used as a way of trying to control weight after binge eating episodes. They include:
A person with Bulimia can become lost in a dangerous cycle of bingeing and compensating which can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and disgust. These behaviours can become more and more uncontrollable, and lead to an obsession with food, thoughts about eating behaviour, weight loss, dieting and body image.
These behaviours are often unseen, and people with bulimia can go to great lengths to keep their eating and exercise habits secret. As a result, Bulimia can often go undetected for a long period of time.
Many people with Bulimia experience weight fluctuations and do not lose weight; they can remain in the normal weight range, be slightly underweight, or may even gain weight.
Having awareness about Bulimia and its warning signs and symptoms can make a big difference to the severity and duration of the illness. Seeking help at the first warning sign is much more effective than waiting until the illness has taken a hold. If you or someone you know is exhibiting some or a combination of these signs it is vital to seek help and support as soon as possible.
The warning signs of Bulimia can be physical, psychological and behavioural. It is possible for someone with Bulimia to display a combination of these symptoms.
Sufferers of this eating disorder are most commonly women between the ages of 18 and 34. People with bulimia often present themselves for treatment between one and five years after the eating disorder has started. Because of the hidden nature of bulimia and the often normal weight appearance of sufferers, this condition may be much more prevalent than we realise.
People with Bulimia may experience:
It is possible to recover from Bulimia, even if you have been living with the eating disorder for many years. The path to recovery can be very challenging. People with Bulimia can become entangled in a vicious cycle of eating and exercise behaviours that can impact their ability to think clearly and make decisions.
However, with the help of an ACFED Approved Eating Disorder Practitioner and a high level of personal commitment, recovery is an achievable goal.
Bulimia treatment means a new relationship with food and self-control around food and weight. Help for bulimia also means emotional strengthening, raising self worth and finding better ways of feeling in control without needing to purge. We start with a full assessment, to help build a personalised treatment plan that is right for you.
Bulimia treatment takes time and will focus on:
Would you like to know how you developed your eating disorder and what can be done to help you recover?
ACFED Approved Eating Disorder Practitioners understand eating disorders, why it is so hard to change, and how it affects your life.
Are you ready to change?