Bulimia often goes undetected as sufferers tend to maintain a roughly normal weight. The key characteristic of bulimia is the binge purge cycle – sufferers binge on a large amount of food in a short period of time then in order to prevent themselves gaining weight they will attempt to purge the calories through a variety of unhealthy methods.
How frequently sufferers will binge and purge varies greatly – anything from several times a day to once every few weeks. Binges will often occur in response to a difficult situation as a coping mechanism.
The unhealthy methods which sufferers use to purge themselves of calories can be very dangerous. Some instances of bulimia are picked up in A&E departments after sufferers are hospitalised, often due to complications from repeated vomiting or laxative abuse.
The key characteristics of bulimia:
Binge and purge cycle:
The defining characteristic of bulimia is the binge purge cycle. A typical pattern is for a sufferer to consume a large quantity of food in a very short period of time. This is called binging. The type of food varies from person to person but is frequently very unhealthy food such as chocolates and cakes. After the binge, bulimics will try to remove the calories from their bodies. This is called purging. Purging can take many different forms, most frequently sufferers will make themselves vomit or will abuse laxatives or diuretics or compulsively exercise. There are some more unusual methods too – including incidences of blood letting.
Roughly normal weight:
As bulimics work hard during a purge to expel the calories they consume during a binge, they tend to maintain a roughly average weight.
Frequent fluctuation in weight:
However, as only about 50% of calories can ever be expelled in this way, one characteristic of some bulimics is a fluctuation in weight – as they may gain weight during difficult periods when they are binging and purging heavily, and lose a little weight when they are binging and purging less.
Undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation:
Like anorexics, bulimics tend to suffer from very low self-esteem and attach a huge importance to their shape and weight. They too tend to consider themselves too fat regardless of how fat or thin they are and they use purging in order to try and control their weight.
If you would like further support, Pooky can deliver an eating disorder training session at your school or college.
You may also be interested in other free eating disorder resources I have uploaded: [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”3″] [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”4″]