Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by alternating periods of binge-eating and purging. Binge-eating is when a person eats much more food than their body needs in a short time. Purging, then, is the act of eliminating that food through forced vomiting, diuretics, or similar methods. Bulimia is a recognized disorder that has a mental aspect as well. Most people struggling with bulimia experience body dysmorphia, extreme fear of gaining weight, and other negative self-beliefs about their physical appearance or body.
If you’re suffering from disordered eating, the experts at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® are here to help. Find a high-quality bulimia treatment program by dialing 855.773.0614 or filling out our quick, online contact form.
Signs You Are Struggling with Bulimia
Struggling with bulimia is often accompanied by warning signs. While individuals may experience bulimia in their own way, certain signs of bulimia are relatively common, such as:
- Frequent weighing or time spent in front of the mirror judging appearance
- New dietary experiments related to weight loss on a regular basis
- Taking laxatives or diuretics often
- Excessive exercise
- Mood swings
Perhaps one of the most significant signals that you or someone you love is struggling with bulimia is behavior around mealtimes. Struggling with bulimia makes mealtimes incredibly fraught. People may avoid eating at typical times and may stop eating in public at restaurants. Family meals or large social gatherings with food present may also be intimidating and avoided. For that reason, bulimia often causes people to withdraw socially.
Bulimia also messes with healthy habits concerning the presence of food in the house. People with bulimia may keep large food stashes that seem disproportionate to daily food needs to fuel their binges. Frequent trips to the bathroom after eating may also become the norm. If you notice yourself or a loved one engaging in multiple signs described above, it may be time to seek a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Typical Symptoms of Bulimia
Warning signs of bulimia are one thing to look out for if you suspect your loved one is suffering from disordered eating. Another thing is the symptoms that usually accompany the disorder. Symptoms may develop or display themselves differently depending on a person’s medical history, how often they binge and purge, and the disorder’s length. Typical symptoms related to bulimia are stomach pain, fainting, discolored teeth, weakened hair and nails, and dizziness. Women and girls may also experience irregular menstrual periods.
Bulimia is a disorder categorized from mild to extreme depending on the number of binge and purge cycles a person engages in within a one-week period. A mild disorder involves up to three cycles per week, where extreme occurs when the person has 14 or more cycles per week.
Bulimia can also impact a person’s long-term health in myriad ways. These impacts become more severe or irreversible depending on how long someone has suffered from the disorder. Physical impacts like kidney failure, decreased sex drive, heart problems, and dental issues are all possible from struggling with bulimia over some time. The social and emotional damage the disorder wreaks can be severe as well. People often lose relationships and jobs or give up hobbies because of the disease.
Bulimia Treatment Options
Similar to other eating disorders, bulimia treatment often begins with an inpatient stay. Bulimia treatment is best approached through an individualized treatment plan that incorporates therapy, education, support, and sometimes medication. Behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy are two of the most common interventions used in bulimia treatment.
Seek Treatment at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery®
Some people may think they can handle disordered eating on their own or prefer to avoid entering formal treatment. But untreated conditions can devastate a person’s mental and physical health, ultimately denying them the productive, whole life they deserve. Find out how to start your recovery from disordered eating by contacting The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® at 855.773.0614.