Bulemia Nervosa is characterised by the consumption of large amounts of food and is usually followed by self-induced vomiting, laxatives
and diuretic misuse. It may also be associated with a preoccupation with body shape, body weight, food and eating. A depressed mood and episodes of rigid dieting may also be associated with the condition.
It can be a symptom of anorexia nervosa but not necessarily because not all people with bulemia have been through a period of excessive weight loss. Normal-weight bulemics are a common and distressing problem because it is hard to identify the condition in some people.
Bulemics have usually been concerned about their weight for a long period of time.
Signs of Bulemia Nervosa
Depressive moods with preoccupation with food, calories (kilojoules) and weight
Weight fluctuations, often they are overweight
Eats only a small amount in public, often a 'cupboard eater'
Visits bathroom after eating
Frequently criticises their own body and weight
May suffer dental caries if long term due to stomach acid disolving tooth enamel
Has a perception that life begins when ideal weight is achieved
The Bulemia Cycle
Stage 1: Start a diet.
The diets that bulemics tend to follow are very strict and are often too low in calories (kilojoules). When they start the diet they tend to
be in a negative emotional state and they believe that by following the diet and losing weight quickly they will gain control over their life and will feel happier.
Stage 2: Feel pressure to stay on the diet.
Bulemics are so focused on achieving immediate results they will often skip meals and this makes conforming to any type of diet extremely difficult.
Stage 3: Getting depressed.
After a while the bulemic will start feeling depressing simply because the diet is too difficult to stick to.
Stage 4: Experiences starvation.
After dieting for quite some time and possibly achieving substantial weight loss, the bulemic experiences some degree of starvation. This mainly results
from their severe restriction of calories (kilojoules) and overall food intake. This starvation approach to losing weight also results in a very
low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia), which often leads to intense fat and sugar cravings.
Stage 5: Give up diet and binge eat.
After the severely strict diet the person with bulemia gives up the diet and ends up bingeing on good-tasting foods, particularly those that have been excluded from
diet, i.e. bread, chocolate and sweets.
Stage 6: Eat excessively.
After bingeing, the bulmeic still feels hungry. It is as if their satiating mechanism isn't working properly due the the extended starvation they experienced.
As a result, they continue to eat.
Stage 7: Feel terrible.
After they finally finish bingeing the bulmeic feels terrible. They are generally bloated, experienced rapid weight re-gain, and feel some degree of self-hatred
for not sticking to the diet and for not having control. They may also induce vomiting to get rid of the food (excess calories).
From here they go back to dieting again and the cycle starts all over.
Treatment for Bulemia
Here are some bulemia treatment options for the bulemic themselves or for the friends or family of the person with this illness:
Avoid weighing and measuring food daily
Concentrate on good eating habits with control- the control should help to prevent vomiting
Plan the following day's eating and activity times- to prevent missed meals and 'danger times' (mid-afternoon and evening)
Choose foods that they enjoy and are happy to eat with others
Avoid eating in the kitchen, if possible sit down and eat in a relaxed environment
Avoid eating from large packets- buy foods only in correct portion sizes
Eat 'binge foods' in company to maintain control
Avoid eating on their own
Keep low calorie foods to a minimum, emphasise normal, healthy eating
Avoid skipping meals- it may trigger binges, which then leads to vomiting or laxative abuse
These are some simple steps that people with bulemia nervosa can take every day in order to help them overcome the condition and return to living a
'normal' life without having the proccupation with body weight, body shape, eating and food that they experienced in the past.