Bulimia Nervosa or Bulimia is a common eating disorder found in both men as well as women. It is marked by overeating or binge eating, which is followed by vomiting. It is a complex disorder in which a person often eats too much very quickly and then tries to induce vomiting right after that, which is often to avoid weight gain. They may do this by themselves, manually like inserting a finger deep within the mouth, or just on the basis of their will power or sometimes even use aids such as purgatives.
It is more serious then someone on a crash diet and has a psychological aspect to the problem as well. This can include issues such as depression, stress, being obese or overweight, have self-esteem or other emotional complications. Unlike anorexia, Bulimia can go undiagnosed for a long time. More then often, people with this problem appear to be normal, are not overly skinny, in fact sometimes may be overweight. Patients with bulimia do not like to come out or discuss their problem and it often leads to more and more cumulative stress and pressure.
There are some secondary issues as well that are associated with Bulimia. These can include GERD or acid reflux, constant nausea or vomiting, ulcers and pain in the stomach or abdomen, irritable bowel syndrome, tooth erosion, electrolyte imbalance, diarrhea, etc.
Some warning signs that may help identify a patient are extreme exercise schedules, crash dieting, binge eating depression, mood swings, weakness or fainting, and most obvious red flag would be if someone uses the bathroom a lot between meals or right after one.
Once identified, it is critical to start treatment on multiple counts. These individuals usually need a lot of support from family and close friends, and they might still like some sort of privacy during the process. There are some medicines which can help them overcome this behavior but that requires constant monitoring by someone close to them. It is also important that they do not feel judged or any less because of the people being aware of their problem. In the long run, it can only worsen the patient’s prognosis. For them, the main reason why they show such pattern behavior could be them wanting to be like everyone around, or look good or be in a good shape. It is important to make them realize that their approach is wrong and not their beliefs and guide them towards the right path. A constant reminder and helping them change their current lifestyle and cope with it slowly, is usually what works. There are also many support groups or therapy clinics for Bulimia patients that help them talk among people with similar ideas. Best way is to talk among friends, people who are close to you and understand you, where you don’t feel judged and are open to suggestions and ideas. Hypnosis has also been reported to be helpful for some individuals. But it all starts at home and your loved ones around who can help you get back on track and make you comfortable for who you are.