By shaambhavi Nutrition & Wellness
Bulimia nervosa is an extremely dangerous eating disorder which is very severe as well as life-threatening. In this situation, an individual is pulled by the urge to eat large quantities of food. A lot of individuals suffering from bulimia also face psychological problems like sadness and anxiety. People suffering from bulimia feel the constant need to binge although they feel guilty about eating afterwards. They try to empty what they have eaten by vomiting, using laxatives or pills to curb their food cravings. In more severe case, an individual is prone to harming himself through excessive drinking, substance abuse or relationship sabotages. Unfortunately, the saddest part is that people who suffer from bulimia nervosa do not know who to consult or seek advice from.
Types of bulimia nervosa
There are basically two types of bulimia:
The purging type
This is the common form of bulimia nervosa. In this scenario, there is over-eating on a regular basis followed by vomiting and use of laxatives and diuretics.
The non-purging type
This type of bulimia is characterised by incorrect ways of excessive binging such as inducing eating through excessive workout or performing a fast. However, the aftermaths of vomiting are not implemented.
The actual reason for this eating disorder is not known. However, doctors believe that heredity, ecology, psychology and social parameters can be influencing factors. Bulimia can put unwanted pressure on both the patient and family as the person tends to avoid social events due to his unusual eating habits. This may lead to lowered self-esteem which can induce suicidal tendencies in the individual.
Bulimia is a sever condition which can cause both long and short term effects on the body.
The short term effects
- The digestive system becomes dysfunctional due to vomiting. The patient feels bloating, bad taste inside mouth, indigestion, stomach aches, acid refluxes, nausea and heart burns.
- The throat gets damaged due to vomiting. This may make swallowing painful.
- The teeth erode due to acid from vomiting.
- Heart problems are obvious due to frequent purging.
- Constipation is also a common concern which can become serious due to haemorrhoids as well as tearing in the anal region.
- The body temperature is low which makes people prone to cold weather. The bulimics also experience the tendency to faint.
- There are constant mood swings and one cannot tolerate mental stress.
- The bulimics get exhausted quickly and they have the inability to concentrate.
- There is persistent pain in the back, neck and other body parts. The muscular tension is quite painful.
- The depression and anxiety levels are quite severe. The more bulimia takes over a person, the more he becomes depressed.
- There are noticeable changes in the skin condition as well. The skin becomes dry followed by brittle nails and weak hair. One way to find out if a person is bulimic is to observe their knuckles which will appear hard and wrinkled.
- The immune system collapses which makes the person prone to flu and common cold.
- People start avoiding others and become withdrawn. Their stress levels increase significantly and they experience insomnia. They also have distorted thoughts.
- In case of females, the menstrual problems occur.
The long term effects
- The heart gets affected due to electrolyte imbalances caused by purging continuously. There are chances of death when the weakened heart faces heart block and suddenly stops breathing.
- Long term bulimia can cause kidney damage. They work excessively to control the mineral imbalance in the body and eventually become non-functional.
- The brain also suffers in the long term aftermaths of bulimia. The patient has distorted thought patterns including anxiety and depression. Eventually, the brain starts generating suicidal thoughts and other self-harm ideas. The impulsive behaviour becomes more frequent in bulimics.
- The digestive system does not function normally. There is bloating in the abdominal region. Other problems include acid refluxes, ulcers and stomach aches.
A person suffering from bulimia can be counselled and put into therapy. It is better to control the symptoms as early as possible before it is too late.