Bulimia or Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by frequent and persistent urge to eat. This is followed by psychotic behavior to compensate for overeating. Bulimia Nervosa is a Latin language derivative that literally means to be hungry like an ox. This uncontrollable hunger stems from inherent psychological disorders. It is also due to eating emotional rather than need-based eating. Its like seeking refuge in food for momentary periods of unknowingness, respite from a painful memory, or an ailment.
After an overeating binge, the patient will do compensatory behaviors like deliberate purging of food, using laxatives, and over-exercising to burn away the excess calories. Young adults who are obsessed with their appearance, or are into drug abuse, or facing psychological problems tend to develop bulimia.
Symptoms of bulimia
– Obsession with body weight and appearance.
– Dual domination of urge for food and the abhorrence of it.
– Fear of uncontrolled eating. This leads to avoiding dinner parties or get-togethers.
– Uncontrolled eating. Insatiable hunger. Gluttony.
– Feelings of self-pity, shame, remorse, guilt, and depression after binging.
– Self-induced vomiting.
– Variation in body weight.
– Feelings of self-esteem directly proportional to body weight.
– Over-exercising. Undertaking strenuous physical activity.
– Frequenting bathroom immediately after eating.
– Innate predisposed behavioral tendency to contract bulimia.
– Substance abuse
– Sexual abuse
– Environmental factors
– Socio-environmental factors (family, friends, relatives, peers)
– Influence of society and media.
– Weak eating habits; irregular eating habits
– Emotional problems
– Mental disorders
Bulimia is more of a behavioral disorder. The treatment options are:
Behavioral therapy – The doctor will counsel the patient on trashing out negative feelings and misconceptions. The initial process is to bring about a consistency in eating habits under observation. This includes making the patient practice techniques to curb the urge to binge on food. Along with this psychiatric counseling is provided by way of altering and rectifying negative perceptions on body shape, weight, height etc.
Medications – Medications are administered if the patient suffers from depression-induced bulimia. Anti-depressant drugs are prescribed for this.