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Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by consuming large amounts of food while feeling out of control and engaging in compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain. These behaviors may include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medication, fasting, or excessive exercise. This disorder develops when individuals are unduly influenced by body shape and weight.

The typical age of onset of Bulimia is mid-to-late adolescence and often has underlying causes such as a catastrophic trauma or attachment trauma. Anxiety, depression, attachment trauma, and difficulties with impulse control in other areas often accompany Bulimia. Early warning signs of Bulimia include frequent trips to bathrooms after meals, swelling of the face, calluses on knuckles from using the fingers to self-induce vomiting, and the disappearance of large amounts of food.

Do I have bulimia?

Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes.
  • Self-esteem overly related to body image.

Many people with Bulimia also struggle these co-occurring conditions

  • Self-injury (cutting and other forms of self-harm without suicidal intention)
  • Substance abuse
  • Impulsivity (risky sexual behaviors, shoplifting, etc.)

According to the DSM-5, the official diagnostic criteria for Bulimia Nervosa are:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating characterized by both of the following:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
    • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
  • Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise.
  • The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  • Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.

What Kind of Care is Right for Me?

If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, you can use these assessments for more information

Confidential & Easy Eating Disorder Screening Survey: Find out today if you or a loved one are possibly in need of eating disorder treatment.