Bulimia is a complex eating disorder which is associated with a preoccupation with body weight and shape. Individuals afflicted with bulimia judge themselves unsympathetically and find apparent faults with every feature of their body. The desire to create an aesthetically pleasing body leads one to engage in episodes of binging and purging. This usually means eating huge amounts of food and then disposing the food by self-induced vomiting or extremes of exercise. Bulimia is a disorder where one is ensnared in a secret inner world of disgrace, shame, disgust and a bizarre relationship with food.
Bulimia is not a trivial eating disorder and can be associated with potentially a life threatening complications.
The individual may have a preoccupation with food, but this is ultimately related to the disturbance in self image that can cause serious long term problems. Over time, most individuals with bulimia develop physical symptoms like damaged teeth and gums, recurrent sores in the mouth, excessive fatigue, dry skin and menstrual irregularities. The behavior symptoms may vary from constant eating, excessive exercising, hoarding foods, depression, anxiety and a preoccupation with body shape. The majority of these individual have a distorted negative image about their body.
The cause of bulimia remains unknown but has been linked to socio-cultural issues and a desire to be thin. The treatment of bulimia is complex and multidisciplinary. Most individuals require a combination of psychotherapy, anti depressant medications and nutritional therapy. The disorder is challenging and many individuals with bulimia are not able to fully recover despite maximum therapy. Cycles of binging and purging may come and go throughout life. To prevent relapse, it is essential that one learn methods to cope with body image, develop healthy family relationships and manage stress in an effective way.
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Shamir Benji has a post graduate degree in the health sciences and has been writing for more than 10 years.