Bulimia nervosa is a serious mental illness that affects people’s health and makes them unhappy. The main characteristics of this disease include repeated episodes of binge eating and specific compensatory behaviors afterwards. In other words, people eat a very large amount of food within several hours, feel like they lose control while eating, and then try to control their weight after binge eating episodes by fasting, vomiting, taking pills, and exercising. The main warning signs of bulimia are physical, behavioral, and psychological.
The most evident signs of bulimia nervosa are physical signs. An individual frequently gains or loses weight. Bad breath and damage to the teeth may indicate bulimia. Strange intolerances to food may develop. Girls and women lose their menstrual periods or experience disturbances. People who suffer from bulimia often feel tired but cannot sleep well.
Behavioral signs can also indicate that an individual is sick. Usually, there is evidence of binge eating. Patients often avoid meals with other people and eat in private. They tend to spend more time alone. Typical bulimia signs also include secretive behavior around food, excessive exercising even in bad weather or when sick, dieting, and spending large sums of money on pills.
Obviously, a sick person changes his or her psychological portrait. Such patients are preoccupied with food, eating, weight, and body shape. They become oversensitive to comments about their weight, body shape, food, and medicines. Food becomes their obsession, and they see themselves as overweight even if they are not. Depression and irritability are also psychological signs of bulimia nervosa.
There are some other warning signs, e.g. low energy, feeling cold most of the time, and changes in clothing style. However, a combination of the signs mentioned above indicates bulimia nervosa. The more signs are evident, the worse the risks are for a sick person. They include heartburn, stomach ulcers, osteoporosis, increased risks of infertility, etc. This disease can be treated, but the therapy requires psychological and cognitive behavioral therapies, stress management, and crisis intervention.
Though bulimia nervosa is somehow genetically predisposed, the main reasons for its development include a combination of social, environmental, and cultural factors. Therefore, individuals should keep in mind that they themselves, as well as their friends and relatives, may be at risk. It is important to visit a doctor as soon as possible if you notice several bulimia signs, because the path to recovery is challenging and requires the strong personal commitment of a patient.