Bulimia Nervosa is a potentially life-threatening and serious mental illness, affecting 2-3 in 100 women and up to 15% of men in the United States. Studies have shown that achieving the ‘ideal’ body image or weight loss strategies has driven children to develop bulimia or bulimic behaviors as young as ten years old.
Characteristics of bulimia nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa is a psychiatric disorder that exhibits behaviors to uncontrollably binge (consume large amounts of food) in a short period of time, sometimes secretly, and find alternative ways to purge the excess food and calories. The binge and purge are initially emotionally driven. The individual may then purge due to feeling distressed or shame about the excess food consumption or as a weight maintenance strategy. Bulimics will use inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives and diet pills, extreme exercise, fasting, and food restriction to rid themselves of unwanted calories.
Individuals suffering with bulimia nervosa are more likely to be preoccupied with their body weight and shape. The purging behaviors allow them to control their body image and cope with their underlying perfectionism and low self-image. They may display behaviors of impulsivity, mood swings, substance abuse, cigarette use, and even shoplifting.
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