Recognize symptoms of bulimia nervosa
Bulimia, or bulimia nervosa as it is officially known, is an eating disorder that causes sufferers to eat in binges, and then compensate for their overindulging by purging. People with this disorder often feel they have no power over their eating habits, but need to control their weight using any means necessary. The overuse of laxatives and diuretics, obsessive exercise and the abuse of weight loss medications are also features of the bulimic condition.
Causes and Symptoms of Bulimia
It is not known exactly what causes bulimia, but several influencing factors have been identified. They include:
- Societal influences and low self-esteem. Women may become susceptible to developing bulimia if they feel societal pressure to have a perfect figure. Having a negative body image may also trigger the condition.
- Family influences. Having a relative with bulimia, or a family member who is critical of their own physical appearance or the physical appearances of others, may increase your risk of bulimia.
- Stress, psychological disorders and trauma. Traumatic events and stressful situations have been known to trigger bulimic episodes in those who already suffer the condition. Sometimes, these factors contribute directly to the development of bulimic tendencies.
- Chemical imbalances. Genetics and imbalances of hormones and brain chemicals have also been identified as possible causes of bulimia.
Physical signs of bulimia may include swollen cheeks and jaws, broken blood vessels in the eyes and damaged teeth, all caused by excessive vomiting. Bulimics may also be abnormally secretive or unusually moody, may make frequent trips to the bathroom after eating, may have a distorted body image and may show a compulsive need to exercise. They may also show an abnormal reliance on diuretics and laxatives.
Bulimics may also show symptoms of other medical conditions, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse. These conditions often go hand-in-hand with bulimia, and their warning signs should be monitored as well.
Treatment for Bulimia
Bulimia recovery is a long road and requires a combination of medical treatment, willpower and familial support. Bulimia treatment centers are a good option, as they provide a safe place for bulimia sufferers to recover while getting the counseling they need. Patients can also learn and implement lifestyle changes that help them live their lives without bulimia when they return home. Additional sources for bulimia help include outpatient counseling and continued care from a doctor.