Bulimia is an eating disorder constituting bingeing and purging as two prominent behaviors. While bingeing is eating food in a large amount, purging is self-induced vomiting. The condition is prevalent in developed world among obese and people who want to retain a normal weight. Today, the fitness trend in modern lifestyle has brought youngsters at the entrance of bulimia. Also, the pressure of body maintenance by peers, genetic factors, and low self-esteem are other causes of bulimia. As people with the condition are private about their eating and purging habits, they often suffer from depression, isolation, anxiety, and drinking or drugs consumption.
Negative effects of bulimia:
Bulimia disrupts a person’s normal life pattern.
Bulimia causes a person to eat a large amount of food in private and keeping it secret from friends and family by either throwing the food wrapper or re-stuffing the food at the same place. A person regularly checks his/her weight and becomes obsessive about exercising and appearance. The outdoor activities become unimportant to an individual suffering from bulimia, which leads to an isolation. An extreme private life often takes the form of alcohol or drug addiction.
As hiding evidence of bingeing and purging are not uncommon in bulimia, such secrets make a person depressed and anxious. An individual feels ashamed of his/her actions which may lead to a feeling of guilt. Studies show that isolation and loneliness among people with this condition are major causes of suicides.
Digestive system issues
Bulimia impacts the entire digestive system. The frequent vomiting leads to the swelling of salivary glands and causes stomach acids to damage teeth. Such acids may rupture the food pipe and cause stomach-ache and heartburn. As people use a finger to induce vomit, Russel’s sign (scars on the backside of the hand due to the finger’s contact with incisors while inducing vomit) appears on the knuckles.
Bulimia can make a woman infertile. A severe eating disorder stops the ovulation and prevents the ovaries to release eggs. If a pregnant woman is suffering from bulimia, nutrition deficiencies due to vomiting cause further problems for the child. Such condition often leads to miscarriage, premature birth, or gestational diabetes.
Hair and skin problem
The deficiency of vitamins and proteins and lack of sufficient water in the body leads to skin and hair problems. While the hair becomes dry, the skin turns rough and flaky. At times, a person may experience hair loss.
The constant visits to the washroom for vomiting and loss of significant components that a body requires to function leads to tiredness and fatigue. Regular purging cause dehydration that weakens muscles and body strength.
Bulimia is more common in women than men. The treatment of the condition includes cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. Under cognitive behavioral therapy, the therapists teach their patients to challenge their purging thoughts and keep a record of every day binge-purge episode. Doctors advise antidepressants under medication. So far, the results have been positive among adults. Among adolescents, the guidance and help of parents and friends play an important role. Due to the increasing social networking via the internet, the conditions such as bulimia may rise with time following a person’s urge of social acceptance and fair appearance. To prevent such predictions, the adults including parents and teachers must educate adolescents about the condition and encourage them to engage in outdoor activities. Also, the governments can play a crucial role in creating awareness among masses and providing means of prevention to bulimia.