By Angela Bekiaris
Bulimia is a mental disorder, characterised by frequent episodes of binge eating followed by extreme efforts to avoid gaining weight, often by vomiting or exercising to excess. While bulimia is most common amongst young girls, it does affect woman and men of all ages.
Signs & Symptoms To Look Out For
helpguide.org shares some of the main symptoms with us:
1. Lack of control over eating; unable to stop eating until the point of physical discomfort and pain
2. Secrecy surrounding eating, such as hiding food in your bedroom or sneaking into the kitchen late at night when everyone is asleep
3. Eating unusually large amounts of food with no obvious change in weight
4. Disappearance of food
5. Alternating between overeating and fasting
6. Going to the bathroom after meals
7. Using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after eating
8. Smell of vomit
9. Excessive exercising
10. Calluses or scars on knuckles or hands from sticking fingers down one’s throat to induce vomiting
11. Puffy ‘chipmunk’ cheeks caused by repeated vomiting
12. Discoloured teeth from exposure to stomach acid when throwing up
13. Frequent fluctuations in weight
Risk Factors Those usually affected have:
1. A poor body image
2. Low self-esteem
3. Stressful life changes
4. History of trauma or abuse
Don’t let bulimia destroy your life. Here are three ways to recover:
1. Admit you have a problem and seek help. Talk to a family member, friend or professional. You can even join a chat group and chat to those who have been in your position.
2. Stay away from people, places, and activities that trigger the temptation to binge or purge.
3. Address any underlying mood disorder – anxiety, depression or anything else you’ve had an issue with before the bulimia started.
TIP: While trying to recover, you need to develop a healthy relationship with food. Pay attention to your hunger; don’t wait until you’re starving to eat as that will cause overeating. Eat regularly, don’t skip meals, don’t restrict foods and don’t let your emotions feed you.