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What is Bulimia Nervosa?
Binge eating disorder is eating an excessive amount of food in a relatively short period of time, but without purging. Bulimia nervosa is diagnosed when binge eating is followed by behaviors like self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics (water pills), and enemas.
Many people who binge eat and purge also suffer from anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Bulimia affects an estimated 5% of people who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder. Alcohol abuse, drug use, and other addictions are also common in people with bulimia.
Many people deal with feelings of low self-worth or perfectionism by binge eating in secret. Some mask their unhealthy behaviors with excessive exercise to prevent weight gain. People with the eating disorder only feel good about themselves when they are thin and begin purging when they think they look fat.
People with bulimia:
- Binge at least once a week for three months or longer.
- Purge (or exercise excessively) after they eat.
- Blame and shame themselves if they gain weight.
Every system in the body is dependent on nutrition and healthy eating habits to function properly. An individual’s health is at risk when body rhythms are disrupted by binging and purging.
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