Bulimia Nervosa


Bulimia Nervosa Essay, Research Paper

Bulimia Nervosa

June Engel (1993), found that today s society s idealization of thinness is producing an alarming increase in eating disorders especially among young women. The never-ending efforts to lose weight and conform to the media image of an ideal shape are leading more and more young people to diet at the cost of health. Weight preoccupation is now widespread in our society, affecting the people of all ages, classes, occupations and ethnic backgrounds. June, Engel (1993) reported that once considered just a subclass of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa is now recognized as its own disease, occurring mainly in women aged 16 to 25, especially among high school students. Bulimia nervosa affects an estimated 2-4 percent of Canadian females aged 12-25 (and some adolescent males.) Like anorexia nervosa, it too involves extreme weight-preoccupation, but with alternate side effects of binging and fasting, vomiting and purging being common place after binges. Factors of Bulimia include a family history of alcoholism and depression.

National Institute of Mental Health (1993) reported that even though it s easier to talk about anorexia and bulimia being different conditions, individual patients often suffer from symptoms of both. Indeed, it often happens that bulimia develops after a period of months or years of anorexic symptoms. Women suffer from these disorders 10 times more than men, and so this leaflet refers to the sufferer as she ! Although often thought of as adult problems these disorders most often start in the teenage years while the sufferer is still at home.

Corben and Lindsey (1990) described that lots of people are becoming aware of obesity. Though these concerns are good, excessive concern for thinness is also a major problem (like Bulimia a fear of obesity .) June Engel (1993) illustrated that once you have an eating disorder sadly many remain eating disordered and dissatisfied with themselves for life. Bulimics share the anorexic s fear of losing control, being depressed, and obsessed with weight loss. Bulimics start on restricted diets but can never stick to them, and occupy their time in cycles of restricted eating, binging and self-inflicting vomiting and purging. They use a lot of laxatives, diuretics and sometimes even ipecac syrup (to force themselves to vomit.) When their dietary restraint breaks down, bulimics binge on cast amounts of food cakes, desserts, hotdogs, whatever is appetizing, then they vomit it all up to avoid weight gain. Self-imposed vomiting, which may take hours per session, gets rid of only a few calories and is extremely hard on the digestive system, throat and heart. Diuretics or water pills rid the body of some water as well as valuable minerals, which are essential to your body. Loss of potassium can seriously disturb the heart rhythm. Coleen (1996) found that people with bulimia consume a lot of food and get rid of it by taking enemas or exercising obsessively. Some people use both. Many individuals with bulimia binge and purge in secret and maintain normal or above normal body weight, they can often successfully hide their problem from others for years. Anna Harkensee (1997) reported that in some cases, binge eating causes the stomach to rupture; the acid in vomit wears down the outer layer of the teeth and can cause scarring on the backs of hands when fingers are pushed down the throat to induce vomiting. The esophagus becomes inflamed and the glands near the cheeks become swollen. Bulimia may lead to irregular menstrual periods. Interest in sex may also diminish. June Engel (1993, page 318) illustrated that some complications of bulimia are stomach bleeds, kidney disorders and electrolyte imbalance, possibly producing serious, sometimes fatal, heartbeat irregularities.

Anna Harkensee (1997) found that some people with bulimia struggle with addictions, including abuse of drugs and alcohol, and compulsive stealing. Many people with bulimia suffer from depression, anxiety, and OCD. These problems, combined with their impulsive tendencies, place them at increased risk for suicidal behavior. Robertson and Mang (1990, pg 97) found that people suffering from bulimia should seek psychological help to regain their self-esteem. They also need medical advice about a proper diet. The process of recovery from bulimia may be long, but these people can be cured.

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