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Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa drink and drugs advice line

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours, such as self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or the use of laxatives or diuretics. Here are some key points about bulimia nervosa:

  1. Binge eating episodes: Individuals with bulimia nervosa often consume large amounts of food in a discrete period of time, feeling a loss of control over their eating during these episodes. Binge episodes are typically accompanied by a sense of guilt, shame, and distress.
  2. Compensatory behaviours: To counteract the effects of binge eating and prevent weight gain, individuals with bulimia nervosa engage in compensatory behaviours. These behaviours are meant to “purge” or eliminate the food from their bodies. Common methods include self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, fasting, or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.
  3. Preoccupation with body shape and weight: Individuals with bulimia nervosa often have an intense preoccupation with their body shape and weight. They may have a distorted perception of their body image and place a strong emphasis on their appearance.
  4. Physical and psychological consequences: Bulimia nervosa can have severe physical and psychological consequences. Frequent vomiting can lead to electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, dental problems, oesophageal damage, and other gastrointestinal issues. Psychological effects may include feelings of shame, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
  5. Co-occurring disorders: Bulimia nervosa commonly co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or self-harm behaviours. It is essential to address these underlying issues in treatment.
  6. Treatment options: Treatment for bulimia nervosa usually involves a combination of therapies. Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), is a widely used approach to help individuals develop healthier attitudes towards food and their bodies, challenge distorted thoughts, and learn coping strategies. Nutritional counselling may also be provided to establish a balanced and sustainable eating pattern. In some cases, medication, such as antidepressants, may be prescribed.
  7. Recovery and support: Recovery from bulimia nervosa is possible with appropriate treatment and support. It is important to seek help from healthcare professionals who specialise in eating disorders. Support from friends, family, and support groups can also play a crucial role in the recovery process.

If you or someone you know is struggling with bulimia nervosa, it is important to reach out to a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Early intervention and support can significantly improve the chances of recovery.

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