Bulimia is an eating disorder and is characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating followed by frantic attempts to lose weight.
Although the illness focuses on food - the food is used or misused as a way of managing emotions such as loneliness, sadness, stress, anxiety and fluctuations in mood.
Bulimia can have a devastating impact on a person both emotionally and physically. The earlier the problem is detected the better and at Clinical Partners we have a team of specialists who will help you overcome this illness.
Bulimia can be difficult to recognize and can go undetected for many years. Sufferers present themselves to the world as confident and self-assured even when they feel inadequate on the inside. As with anorexia controlling food becomes a way of feeling in control of their life.
Those who suffer from bulimia often eat large quantities of food in a relatively short period of time, and then will make themselves throw up, partake in excessive exercise or take laxatives to prevent gaining weight.
The cycle of bingeing and purging helps to control the inner feelings, and also avoids the anger and guilt that are buried at the centre of the eating disorder.
The bulimic sufferer may not realize for quite a long time they are trapped in a never-ending cycle because progress always seems just around the corner; or is achieved by using diuretics, enemas or throwing up.
Bulimia is however extremely harmful to the body. The recurrent binge and purge cycles can damage the entire digestive system and lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body. The Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium from the body as a result of purging behaviours.
Constant vomiting after meals eventually rots your teeth, and the loss of vital potassium in stomach secretions means dangerous imbalances in metabolism can result, leading to heart problems, including even cardiac arrest. Moreover, chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation occur as a result of laxative abuse.
There is even a theory that the inflammation of the parotid salivary glands that can result from throwing up after meals, leads to a swollen face around the cheek and jaw area which leads a to a kind of 'hamster' look. This makes your face look fatter in the mirror and this exacerbates the desire to get thinner, producing more throwing up after meals.
Bulimia is often confused with anorexia nervosa – this is a serious mistake as the treatment approach varies significantly. Anorexia is much rarer than bulimia. While many anorexics have had bulimic symptoms in the past, the impulsivity which is a feature of bulimia means that those with this particular diagnosis fail to attain the very low weight they so fervently desire.
Our approach emphasizes ensuring physical safety of the client as paramount in the early stages, before moving on to address the core psychological problems. A common mistake is to assume bulimia is merely all about weight control. Yet much more is often going on beneath the surface, and those with this diagnosis often find the confined focus on weight patronizing and stifling.
To seek help for Bulimia please call our Clinical Team on 0203 326 9160 and they can help you arrange specialist treatment as soon as is convenient.