What is bulimia?
The following is the diagnostic criterion used by psychologists for defining bulimia:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following: eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances ; a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
- Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise.
- The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months.
- Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
- The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.
Purging Type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas
Nonpurging Type: during the current episode of Bulimia Nervosa, the person has used other inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise, but has not regularly engaged in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas
Who gets bulimia?
Low self esteem is the common feature of psychological eating disorders. Bulimia Nervosa is a theorized to be a self imposed punishment for something that the person blames themselves for, or a dysfunctional reaction to some unpleasant events in their life. A bulimic will seek episodes of bingeing and purging to avoid or as reaction to anxiety, depression, anger, or stress. Often bulimic may be abuse survivors (sexual or other).
Signs of bulimia
A person with bulimia will engage in bingeing and purging episodes. They will eat a large quantity of food in a short time then use vomiting or laxatives to remove the food. The eating or purging will be associated with guilt. Often bulimia is mixed with anorexia, although the bulimic will usually recognize that they have an eating disorder. They may be fascinated by food and be preoccupied with recipes, cook-books, and dieting issues.