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Bulimia nervosa - a psychological eating disorder.

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Bulimia Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder. Bulimia was diagnosed as its own eating disorder in the 1980s. It is an illness that is most commonly found in girls of later adolescence and early adulthood. It is very rarely found in men. Bulimia is characterised by episodes of binge eating; eating large amounts of food in a short time. This behaviour may be severe with enormous quantities of food, most typically carbohydrates being consumed. Sometimes up to 20, 000 calories at a time. The foods on which they binge are usually foods labelled as "comfort foods", sweet foods, high in calories, or smooth, soft foods like ice cream, cake and pastry. To prevent otherwise inevitable consequence of weight gain there are periods of food restriction and often vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercising. When vomiting is used then the binges may become multiple with repeating cycles over several hours in which the sufferer eats until full. Then vomits again and eats. Binge eating is not a response to intense hunger. It is usually a response to depression, stress of low self-esteem. During the binge episode, the individual experiences loss of control. With increasing severity the girls' lives become more chaotic with the focus increasingly on the bulimic behaviour. ...read more.


In contrast to an anorexic the diet is not very successful with the rigid control needed breaking down into bouts of cheating. Vomiting is used as part of increased efforts to achieve the weight loss and so the cycle of bingeing and vomiting begins. There is more loss of control as the body's normal mechanisms of appetite control are over ridden and confused. The weight will remain close to normal but the eating pattern becomes gradually worse. This form of bulimia is the least severe but the severity varies considerably. It is likely that there are large numbers of girls with fairly mild symptoms that never come to medical help but there is a significant risk that it will slowly get worse with time. A common time for sufferers to seek help is when they are planning to start a family in their early twenties and are concerned about possible effects on having babies. Anorexic Bulimia Nervosa is a variant of the illness that is preceded by a bout of Anorexia Nervosa. Quite often this anorexic episode is a brief one and the sufferer begins to recover without treatment. It is followed typically by a short period of stabilised weight just below that at which the menstruation may restart, around 46 kg. ...read more.


Repeated vomiting causes a loss of stomach contents and because this includes the acid secretions that are needed for digestion it leads to changes of body chemistry. Laxative abuse causes similar distortion of chemistry and the two behaviours together are most likely to be dangerous. Bulimia causes irregular heartbeat and in severe cases may cause a heart attack. Major disturbance of the blood chemistry, particularly loss of potassium, and rupture of the stomach and oesophagus are occasional causes of sudden death but fortunately this is rare unless the behaviour is extreme. Acid from the stomach constantly washing over the teeth dissolves the enamel which will cause lasting damage particularly to the four central upper teeth. This causes extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food causing severe pain. Repeated vomiting causes the swelling and soreness in the salivary glands. Irregularity of the menstrual cycle is common and sometimes it stops altogether. There is an association of ovarian cysts with the illness that is likely to reduce fertility but most are able to conceive normally once they are recovered. Bulimia also creates abnormal fluid build-up in the intestines this causes a disruption in the normal bowel release function. This further leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. As with all eating disorders the greatest risks are from suicide or self harm as a result of feelings of depression, hopelessness and a decrease in libido. ?? ?? ?? ?? Fatimah Adda ...read more.

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