Eating disorders like Bulimia Nervosa are very difficult to identify and detect. Patients will go that extra mile to conceal and deny their condition. However, there are some symptoms and warning signs that should help you identify the condition even if the patient is lying about having a problem. If you are a family member, a friend or living with someone who suffers from bulimia nervosa, encouraging them to seek professional help can actually save their lives.
What is Bulimia Nervosa: The Diagnosis
Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by episodes of excessive eating or binging followed by episodes of purging in order to get rid of the extra amount of food consumed. A bulimic patient will show signs of depression, social withdrawal and anxiety. Most of the time, the person will have a distorted body image and will be preoccupied with their weight and figure.
Some patients are obese or overweight because of the binging episodes, while others maintain a slim figure without being excessively underweight. These binging episodes can be caused by depression, guilt, a distorted self-image and too much social pressure. Some celebrities engage in bulimia to cope with the social pressure to maintain a certain figure regardless of their needs. Some teens and adults will feel so guilty being unable to maintain a sexy and “social-media” acceptable figure, so they start to eat more.
Signs of Binging:
Patients with bulimia nervosa usually eat in one session way more than they should. They will not be able to stop once the binging episode begins. Patients usually hide food to be able to reach it when no one is watching. They keep food in unusual places or make secret trips to the kitchen at night in order to eat away from everybody else.
Even after feeling full and physically uncomfortable, the patient will keep on eating until the binging episode is over. A bulimia nervosa patient usually feels shame, disgust and self-loathing after eating too much. As the condition worsens, the person might have these feelings following a regular meal or snack.
Signs of Purging:
The most common type of purging is self-induced vomiting, although some patients will use laxatives, diuretics, and enemas to get rid of the excessive amounts of food they consume. Patients usually run to the bathroom during or right after meals to throw up. They usually deal with dental problems due to excessive vomiting.
Bulimia patients usually have chipmunk cheeks as they suffer from salivary glands inflammation which leads to swelling. Regular and induced vomiting causes throat inflammation and ulcers. This can mess up with the vocal cords and ultimately changes the quality of the voice. Patients might also have visible bite marks on their fingers as a result of inducing vomiting on a regular basis.
Although bulimia nervosa is difficult to treat, the proper treatment plan can change someone’s life. Seek professional help if you or someone you care about suffers from bulimia. A professional health care provider will help identify and properly diagnose the problem in order to treat it permanently. A bulimia nervosa patient shouldn’t be deprived of leading a normal life and the proper treatment is the only way to achieve this.