Tag: Bulimia

Woman using a fork to eat a pea

It Isn’t About the Size: Being Skinny Is Not the Sole Indicator of Bulimia

Would you believe that someone could be battling bulimia even though they don’t look alarmingly skinny?

Bulimia is a serious, life-threatening illness characterized by binge eating followed by purging, fasting, or excessive exercise. It often goes undetected because the signs are not as blatant as the symptoms of anorexia, which manifests mainly in extremely low body weight. People with bulimia can still fall within the normal weight range and feel intensely unhappy with their body figure such that they desperately want to lose weight.

Bulimia Goes Beyond the Way a Patient Looks

People may stereotype patients with eating disorders as extremely skinny or stick-thin. This isn’t always the case, though.

Like other eating disorders, bulimia centers around an individual’s obsession with body image and weight gain. But bulimics may be underweight or overweight; their body size may still be average despite attempts to reach an unrealistic body figure or weight.

In fact, the condition might lead to the opposite of the slim figure that patients with bulimia desire.  The frequent consumption of high-calorie food, although routinely purged, may cause weight gain. Moreover, the condition might cause the abdomen to bloat.

Given this information, we can assume that detecting bulimia is not as easy as assessing someone’s body figure. Instead of just assuming that someone who looks alarmingly thin has an eating disorder, we have to pay attention to other symptoms:

  • Eating uncontrollably and purging after
  • Inducing vomiting after meals
  • Abusing laxatives or diuretics
  • Exercising to the point of exhaustion
  • Fasting or starving one’s self for long periods

Bulimia may also result in mouth-related symptoms, such as sore throats and dental problems.

Treatment will take a long time because the condition affects the physical as well as the psychological well-being of an individual. Treatment must also address other conditions closely linked with the eating disorder and body image distortion.

Bulimia May Not Occur Alone

Bulimia is already a serious condition, but it does not always occur alone. People with bulimia may also suffer from other conditions, such as mood disorders, anxiety, depression, or substance dependence.

Patients with bulimia may also experience other dangerous side effects, such as stomach ulcers, a ruptured stomach, muscular fatigue, and constipation. Women patients may experience irregular periods. In the worst case scenario, the condition may lead to sudden heart failure.

To address bulimia and the other conditions linked with it, people have to be more open to the idea that not everyone with an eating condition is stick-thin. This stereotype is what leads to a potentially large number of undetected cases of bulimia.

Break Free from Bulimia

The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health provides a bulimia treatment program in Westport, CT. We teach patients to identify and understand the reasons behind their eating behaviors so that we can help them develop healthy coping skills.

Our treatment plan lets you take back control of your thoughts and break free from bulimia. We know that the healing process does not happen overnight. So, we foster a safe and supportive environment that encourages you to heal mentally and physically at your own pace. Make an appointment with us, today.

a woman by the field

The Mental & Biological Causes of Bulimia and Eating Disorders

A person diagnosed with bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) faces potentially life-threatening mental and physical risks, if not treated appropriately. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, only 1 percent of women and 0.1 percent of men in the United States have bulimia, but researchers dispute this as the real figure; like other mental health disorders, many choose to keep their condition a secret.

Bulimia stems from both mental and biological factors. If you or a loved one shows signs of bulimia, seek immediate medical attention to help treat the condition and prevent further damage to you or your loved one’s body and mind. Some of the symptoms listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 include:

  • Evidence of recurring episodes of binge eating (e.g., large amounts of food disappearing)
  • Evidence of purging and inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain (e.g., induced vomiting, laxatives, fasting, excessive exercise)
  • Uncomfortable eating around others, fear of eating in public
  • Stained teeth
  • Drastic weight changes
  • Self-injury, substance abuse, and other signs seen in mental health conditions

Different studies have found many causes related to bulimia, which stretches to both one’s physical and psychological health.

Emotional Stress & Mental Health

There is no specific mental cause for bulimia; one of the usual reasons is it is a coping method for emotional stress. Although it starts as a coping method, it quickly develops into an uncontrollable habit. Often, bulimia appears in a person along with other mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and others.

Body Image and External Factors

Many people find an irrational fear of weight gain and, as such, perform dangerous methods to avoid food intake and weight gain. Research has shown that environmental factors such as the media and fashion industry’s portrayal of beauty as well as sports or other sectors that emphasize weight loss affects one’s body image. However, while bulimia is linked to the fear of becoming overweight, researchers found it is more related to emotional and mental health.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always about one’s body image. Bulimia also stems from external problems. Problems such as within one’s family trigger some patients to develop bulimia, which is why studies have found involving parents in adolescent bulimia treatment are far more effective than treatment where the patient alone undergoes therapy.

Genetic Inheritance

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bulimia and other mental disorders seem to have a hereditary factor, as it occurs within families in between generations. Studies have not sufficiently proven if this is the work of people’s genetics or because of their shared environment, and it is a study worth investigating in the future.

Regardless of the cause, patients who have bulimia are at risk of several mental and physical disorders, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. Diagnosis is difficult because some people choose to hide their condition and symptoms. However, if they spot such symptoms, they should seek immediate care for their physical and mental state. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health offers bulimia treatment in Westport that addresses the symptoms of the eating disorders, as well as their possible triggers.

Click here to learn more about eating disorders and their treatment today.