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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fighting Bulimia - Things You Must Know

Fighting Bulimia – What You Need to Know

Bulimia, or as it is known scientifically, Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder. But it is much unlike other eating disorders like stress eating (also known as emotional eating) or anorexia nervosa. To treat someone with bulimia, it is important be aware of the spectrum of related eating disorders.

Knowing the difference between eating disorders

Stress eating is a psychological response that many of us have experienced - we binge on favourite "comfort foods" like a double chocolate chip ice cream laden with sugar and fats that give us an instant simple calorie-loaded rush. Because we associate a delicious and filling meal with a great mood subconsciously, the stimulus to binge eat and recreate that same feeling of happiness is triggered off in times of stress.

Stress eating

Binge eating is therefore a copying mechanism of addressing stress, anxiety and even depression. Not only does it not address these issues (it in fact suppresses them), but can also lead to obesity. And, it can escalate into a vicious cycle of having negative thoughts triggered by obesity and body image issues, and resorting to binge eating to address these feelings.

Stress eating can be quickly identified, and other modes of addressing the causes of stress and anxiety are often beneficial. Exercise helps sufferers not only lose weight gained from episodes of binge eating, but also increase blood circulation and oxygenation, which in turns improves mood and general well being.

Anorexia Nervosa

In stark contrast, anorexia nervosa is a crippling body image disorder wherein the sufferer is convinced that he/she is overweight. This fear of obesity fuels an overpowering urge to reduce food intake. Anorexics can literally starve themselves on a frugal diet, or resort to foods with low calorie content to feel fuller, thereby drastically reducing intake of essential calories.

This behaviour is most often fuelled out of poor self esteem and a negative body image. Celebrity magazines which popularize waif thin figures and the fashion industry's emphasis on thinness have been blamed for being an anorexia trigger. However, anorexia nervosa goes as far back as the 1870s - one of Queen Victoria’s own physicians first diagnosed it.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is a highly self destructive body disorder, as one can see in its description and impact on human physiology. The aforementioned concept of binge eating is highly relevant to understanding Bulimia Nervosa.

While a popular image, reinforced by pop culture is of bulimics simply vomiting up the food consumed as a radical and dangerous weight loss mechanism, there is more to it.

Patients undergo manic binge eating sprees where they eat large volumes of food rapidly, often without paying any real attention to the food they're eating. This phase is marked by a sense of feeling "uncontrolled".

And, to compensate as swiftly for the food consumed, patients often bring themselves to expel the food from their body. While bulimics often see it as most convenient to simply induce vomiting by touching tip of one's throat with a finger (thereby inducing the gag reflex), other methods are also used. This include resorting to using laxative aids, administering a bodily enema.

Bulimics have cited the feeling of needing to "purge" out the food, as it were an impure object from the body rapidly.

Treating Bulimia

The most crippling aspect of bulimia, the vomiting and purging often goes unseen. However, bulimics can be identified by signs such as needing to visit the bathroom rapidly after finishing a meal, binge eating sprees and eating rapidly, and looking malnourished. Bulimia Self help resources therefore focus on driving the message that there is a clear and definitive problem - and that bulimia is not a lifestyle choice, but a real disorder.

Bulimia treatment includes monitoring a diet plan to reinforce the concept of healthy eating, devising a meal plan to not feel apprehensive and out of control about eating, and devising strategies to intercept the onset of binge cravings. This forms the preliminary approach to changing approach towards food. After addressing these, body issues and other triggers are addressed systematically to root out the causes of Bulimia.

Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 9:30 PM

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