Bulimia Nervosa is a life threatening mental illness characterized by:
- Recurring episodes of food restriction followed by binge eating. A binge-eating episode is characterized by:
a) The consumption of an unusually large amount of food within a relatively short period of time.
b) Feeling out of control over what and how much is eaten.
- Recurring behaviours that follow bingeing, which are meant to “purge” the body of food and prevent weight gain. These behaviours can include excessive exercise, fasting or severe restriction, self-induced vomiting, and misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas. Note: Vomiting can cause severe dehydration and damage to the esophagus and mouth. Dehydration can also be caused by the misuse of laxatives and diuretics and excessive exercise. These types of purging can lead to imbalances in essential body minerals and salts, which can cause cardiac arrest and/or stroke. In addition, they do not get rid of most of the calories eaten during a binge.
- The person tends to negatively evaluate their weight and shape and feels these matter more than most anything else about them; and
- The restricting, bingeing, and purging cycle occurs at least once a week for three months. Individuals with bulimia often experience shame or embarrassment about their bingeing and purging and may go to extreme lengths to hide these behaviours. They often fall within a “normal” weight range, though there may be frequent fluctuations, making it difficult for loved ones to recognize the eating disorder. Bulimia is commonly linked with depression and may also be linked with self-harm and suicidality.
All information taken from the National Eating Disorder Information Centre website © 2014