An Overview of Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is one of the leading eating disorders worldwide alongside anorexia nervosa and continues to pose a major health threat as sufferers experience psychological and medical symptoms that most often lead to complications (Le Grange & Lock, 2007, p. 4). One of these complications is the tendency of bulimic patients to commit suicide because of aggravating sense of despair and loss of hope. According to Pompili, Girardi, Ruberto & Tatarelli (2006), “suicide in anoxeria nervosa and bulimia nervosa is a major cause of death” (p. 1). Aside from suicide, one of the disturbing realities about bulimia nervosa is how it tends to affect women and ...view middle of the document...
1). Since then, BN has been known to exist separate from anorexia nervosa and has been established to cause as much health trouble as AN.
To be specific, bulimia nervosa is a binge eating disorder (BED) since those afflicted with the disorder have the habit and tendency to engage in compulsive eating behaviors. They “consume far more calories than necessary for maintaining a healthy body weight” (Thompson, 2008, p. 11). After episodes of binge eating, the bulimic patient would try to purge or vomit the foods they consumed. This behavior is one that identifies an individual suffering from bulimia nervosa along with a self-perception determined mainly by physical appearance, specifically, body weight and size. Willer (2007) also adds, using the guidelines provided for by the American Psychological Association, that to receive the diagnosis, bulimia nervosa, the individual must binge eat and purge “on average at least twice a week for three months” (p. 2). Using the preceding bases, people with bulimia nervosa display compulsive eating followed by the compulsory purging with regular frequency and over an extended period of time. While excessive and uncontrollable eating and vomiting is the distinctive characteristic of bulimia nervosa, other compensatory activities such as laxative abuse also help define the BED.
Impact of Bulimia: Medical and Psychological
Willer (2007) mentions some of the most common health risks of bulimia nervosa and these are “electrolyte abnormalities, menstrual irregularities, and rare but potentially fatal gastric ruptures and cardiac arrhythmias” (p. 3). The longer and more frequent the bulimic episodes are, the higher the health risks become. Electrolyte abnormalities are the direct result of the self-induced vomiting which the bulimic person is habituated to do. In Thompson’s dissertation (2008), she adds that bulimia nervosa can lead to the following health problems: “weight gain, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers” (p. 14). With all these medical consequences of bulimia nervosa, it is no wonder that Le Grange and Lock (2007) describes BN as a “disabling disorder” (p. 3).
The failing health condition of the bulimic individual leads to a negative psychological state. With a physical body that is fast deteriorating, the individual with bulimia nervosa finds it more difficult to gain a healthier self-image. Already suffering from poor self-perception, the bulimic person becomes more disapproving and hateful of his or her physical appearance with the recognition that his or her physical ills are rendering his or her body less attractive. With the compounding factor of physical deterioration, the negative psychological impact of bulimia nervosa becomes more pronounced. Le Grange & Lock (2007) identifies the “common comorbid psychiatric conditions” associated with BN and these are “high-rates of depression and anxiety, personality disorders,...