Eating disorders are a serious mental health problem that needs special attention. This condition is more prevalent in women than men, especially adolescents. About 20 million women suffer from an eating disorder in America.
Bulimia nervosa is one common eating disorder that people experience, which normally happens to those who are afraid to gain weight. Fortunately, treatment centers help bulimia patients recover from their condition. They provide different programs that fit the unique needs of every person.
Understanding the Condition
Bulimia refers to an eating disorder in which someone tends to eat an abnormally large amount of food at once (binge eating) and purge afterward. Bulimia patients release everything they have eaten in different ways, including:
- Self-induced vomiting
- Improper use of laxatives
- Excessive workouts
The reason they do this is that they are afraid to gain weight, which for them is a way to fit into the standard of beauty that culture imposes. According to a report by Psychology Today, American women feel the pressure to achieve a certain ideal of beauty. Some think they have to be thin and flawless to be beautiful.
Some people with bulimia may also have low self-esteem and feel hopeless. They can be moody and find it hard to express their anger. They might also have experienced stressful events in their life that trigger bulimia. For example, their families might have criticized their body shape or weight.
Living with Bulimia Nervosa
It can be challenging to live with bulimia. People struggle to lose weight every day, even if they have normal weight. They are also prone to various health complications because of their unhealthy eating habits. For instance, the use of laxatives can lead to cardiovascular problems, like heart palpitations, heart attacks, and arrhythmia. If neglected, it could be fatal for some people.
Individuals with bulimia are usually anxious about their weight and body image. They tend to hide during their binge episodes so people won’t notice. An excessive amount of food waste and wrappers are some signs that a person has been binge eating.
Bulimia patients may also have a compulsion to purge, so they frequently go to the bathroom after every meal. They spend a lot of time at the gym, as well, to lose more weight.
The Journey to Recovery
To diagnose if a person has bulimia, doctors talk to them about their eating habits, physical symptoms, and weight-loss methods. They may also conduct various tests, such as physical exams, blood and urine tests, and an electrocardiogram.
People with bulimia can undergo several therapies like psychotherapy. In this type of therapy, a patient and a mental health professional will discuss the condition and related issues. The following are the different types of psychotherapy that can help a patient recover:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – this helps normalize a person’s eating patterns by replacing negative behaviors with positive ones.
- Family-based treatment – this therapy aims to help patients recover with intervention from family members, particularly parents.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy – in this program, patients will learn to improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
Bulimia can greatly impact someone’s way of life. If you or someone you know is dealing with bulimia or other eating disorders, provide the right support and encouragement to help them overcome this condition. Convincing people with bulimia to get professional help can be challenging, but you can do something to make them feel that there is hope.