Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back today talking about another issue that rears its ugly head during the early teen years. That issue is Bulimia and it’s scary!
Bulimia is estimated to affect about three percent of all women in the United States at some point in their lives. Experts believe that approximately six percent of teen girls and five percent of college aged girls suffer from Bulimia.
So what is Bulimia?
Bulimia is an eating disorder much like Anorexia Nervosa. It’s characterized by episodes of excessive eating (bingeing) followed by inappropriate methods of weight control like self-induced vomiting (purging), abuse of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercise.
It is a psychological disorder and the cycle of eating and vomiting can become an obsession. In fact, Bulimics are also susceptible to other compulsions or affective disorders.
What causes this disorder?
Doctors say that there are no known causes of Bulimia. However, it’s generally felt to begin with dissatisfaction with one’s body. A fact that I found extremely interesting is that Binge eating is not triggered by intense hunger. It is a response to depression or stress or other feelings related to body weight, shape, or food.
The young teen may be underweight but when she looks in the mirror she sees a distorted body image and fell heavier than she actually is.
Organic causes are being investigated. Experts have found evidence that Bulimia and other eating disorders may be related to abnormalities in the level of chemical messengers within the brain, specifically the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Other studies have found alterations in metabolic rate, decreased perceptions of satiety, and abnormal neuroendocrine regulation (The process by which the nervous system interacts with production of hormones and hormone-like substances).
How is Bulimia diagnosed?
As with Anorexia denial and secrecy complicate the diagnosis of Bulimia but there are five basic criteria to look for. They’re listed below:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. This is characterized by eating within a two hour period an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people eat.
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode or a feeling that one cannot stop eating.
- There is an inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain. These behaviors can include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas or other medications, fasting or excessive exercise.
- Both the binge eating and the compensatory behaviors must occur at least two times per week for three months and must not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia.
- Dissatisfaction with body shape and/or weight.
What are the signs of this disease?
- Going to the bathroom after every meal.
- Compulsive or excessive exercise.
- Physical signs arising from excessive vomiting such as swollen cheeks or jaws, broken blood vessels in the eyes, or teeth that appear clear due to damage to tooth enamel.
- Excessive preoccupation with body image or weight.
How can Bulimia be treated?
There are many physical complications as a result of this disease, so these complications must be addressed. For the physical complications that are a result of this disorder, click here http://www.medicinenet.com/bulimia/page4.htm .
The psychological effects are treated with therapy and anti-depressants.
While researching this eating disorder I have found that many teens hide their binge eating, and are able to hide it for years. The damage done to the body by this type of behavior can be life threatening, so it’s important to catch it as soon as possible.
Thanks for stopping by today, and if you’ve had any experience with Bulimia please feel free to share. 🙂