Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder with devastating physical and psychological effects. It’s defined as two or more episodes of rapid consumption of a sizeable amount of food every week for at least three months. The binges are often followed by vomiting or purging and may alternate with obsessive exercise and refusal to eat. The symptoms can happen at any age from early adolescence to 40 but usually become clinically serious in late adolescence.
Bulimia is not as dangerous to health as anorexia but it has many unpleasant physical effects including fatigue, weakness, constipation, fluid retention, swollen salivary glands, erosion of dental enamel, sore throat from vomiting, and scars on the hand from inducing vomiting. Overuse of laxatives can cause stomach upset and other digestive troubles. Other dangers are dehydration, loss of potassium, and tearing of the esophagus. These eating disorders also occur in men and older women, but less frequently. Women with diabetes who have a high rate of bulimia often lose weight after an eating binge by reducing their dose of insulin. It is very dangerous thou and can damage eye tissue and raises the risk of retina damage which can lead to blindness.
Many anorexic women also indulge in occasional eating binges, and half of them make the transition to bulimia. About 40% of the most severely bulimic patients have a history of anorexia. It is not clear whether the combination of anorexia with bingeing and purging is more debilitating physically or emotionally than anorexia alone. According to some research, anorexic women who binge and purge are less stable emotionally and more likely to commit suicide. There was one recent study thou which says just the opposite, suggesting they are more likely to recover.
From what I’ve learned so far it seems nobody knows the exact cause of the disorder but a variety of psychological, social, cultural, familial and biochemical theories are being investigated. Bulimia has been...