Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by, bingeing, eating large quantities of food in a short period of time, and then purging, engaging in over compensatory behaviours in order to counter-balance the effect on weight from the over eating.
Purging includes a range of behaviours including: periods of fasting, or severe calorie restriction; self-induced vomiting; laxative abuse and over exercising. All of these behaviours have the goal of purging the body of the unwanted food and calories to avoid weight gain. A sufferer does no need to engage in all of the purging behaviours in order to be suffering from Bulimia.
There are also a range of psychological characteristics that define the illness, such as a pre-occupation with food, weight and body image. There are also a number of traits, signs and symptoms that are common traits of Bulimia including: psychological, physiological and behavioural aspects.
- Eating large quantities of food that exceed what would be normally expected in a short period of time – usually considered to be within a 2 hour period.
- Eating beyond fullness signals.
- Purging behaviours: self-induced vomiting, over-exercising, laxative abuse, insulin abuse, ipecac syrup, enema abuse and/or severe calorie restriction following a bingeing episode.
- Being secretive and lying about eating habits.
- Hiding and/or storing food in secret places.
- Secret eating.
- Using diet pills.
- Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals and eating in order to vomit.
- Frequent trips to a secluded area after meals and eating in order to vomit.
- Keeping a diary/food diary of behaviours, weight monitoring and good/bad food lists.
- Being overly pre-occupied with eating disorder and weight loss related media i.e. books, documentaries, films.
- Altered libido.
- Change in sleeping habits.
- Taking up smoking all of a sudden.
- Feeling emotional and feelings of depression.
- Mood swings.
- Feeling out of control.
- Obsessed with dieting, food and body weight.
- Low self-esteem
- High expectations and pressure placed on self
- Russell’s Sign: calloused knuckles from self-induced vomiting.
- Sore throat
- Irregular periods
- Puffy face from swollen salivary glands.
- Bad skin.
- Constipation and other digestive difficulties.
- Kidney and bowel problems.
- Weight fluctuations, not necessarily underweight.
- Blood shot eyes, or signs of bleeding within the eye.