BULIMIA NERVOSA

Bulimia Nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by binge-eating, then preventing weight gain through methods such as purging, fasting, using laxatives, and/or excessive exercising. Bulimia mostly affects teenagers and young adults.

 
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SYMPTOMS

Uncomfortable eating around others and in public

Going to the bathroom after eating

Strict exercise regime

Not participating in usual activities

Concern or obsession with weight/appearance

Mood swings

Gastrointestinal issues

Irregular periods

 

STIGMA AROUND BED

Misconception vs. Reality

"You can only have BED if you are obese."
The criteria for diagnosis of BED has little to do with one’s weight. Formal diagnosis is based on specific eating patterns. Ridiculing those who are overweight or “fat shaming”, contributes to the feelings of shame that bulimia sufferers may experience after an episode of binge eating.

"People with BED enjoy eating."
Binge eating can sometimes provide temporary psychological relief for sufferers. Those suffering from bulimia can experience extreme physical and emotional discomfort after overeating.

"BED can be solved by fasting."
It is never safe to encourage unhealthy eating habits. People suffering from bulimia are susceptible to other eating disorders, which can make recovery and coping extremely difficult.

 

BULIMIA TREATMENT

Restoration to Healthy Eating Patterns
This process includes returning to a healthy weight through a specialized meal plan and establishment of healthy habits. This can be done with the help of a dietician who specializes in eating disorders. A primary care doctor, psychologist, or family member can be involved in the recovery process.

Psychotherapy
Specifically CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or enhanced CBT to help with overcoming fears of certain foods, internalized fat phobia, body image issues, and low self-esteem. A therapist can help to identify and reframe unhealthy beliefs about one’s body in order to make recovery easier.

Medication
While there are not many medications that are specifically intended for treating eating disorders, medications that are used to treat other mental illnesses can be effective if prescribed by a licensed professional.

Hospitalization
Some people who struggle with eating disorders may require more intensive care in the form of hospitalization or residential treatment. During their hospitalization, a patient’s condition is monitored closely in order to ensure their health. As with other eating disorders, a doctor may observe hydration and electrolyte levels, heart, lung, or other organ disturbances, and other health problems. In residential care, the team may even force feed patients or withhold food which can be extremely traumatizing.

 
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RESOURCES

Project Calendula is intended to be a prelude for your mental health journey by guiding your education and advocacy. We are not a mental health service. 

If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.): 800-273-8255

If you or someone you know are struggling, please visit the resources at the bottom of this section to find a mental health professional near you.


Please visit any of the following websites for further information on mental illness education.

HELP GUIDE

For more about treatment and self-care for binge eating, visit Help Guide below.