Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder. This disorder involves recurrent binge eating, or overeating, followed by an obsessive behavior. This behavior could be vomiting or purging, fasting, using laxatives, enemas or diuretics or excessive over exercising. Bulimic behavior most often begins in the adolescent stage between the ages of 13 and 20. The most common people to become bulimic are people who were once overweight or obese and are now doing whatever they can to keep the weight off. There are many misconceptions about bulimia and the seriousness of this condition.
Myth: Bulimia is a Good Way to Lose Weight
Fact: Someone who is bulimic does not always lose weight. There have been cases where people have even gained weight in the binging and purging process. People who are bulimic see this as a way to lose weight fast and as a final attempt to get the weight off. Even though most people will lose weight, they are causing serious damage to their bodies, some of which may be permanent.
Myth: Bulimia Only Affects Women
Fact: There are just as many men who are bulimic as there are women suffering from this condition. Men are able to hide this condition better than women can. Excessive exercising can be a common routine for men who are in sports or very athletic. By doing this, they are able to hide their bulimia much easier. Men are just as concerned about how they look and are willing to go to extremes to get that body they want.
Myth: Bulimia Only Involves Vomiting
Fact: This is only part of how bulimics work. Eating large amounts of food and then vomiting is the most common form of binging and purging. The purging does not always have to be vomiting though. People have been known to fast for days on end after a large binge session. Others turn to exercise or some sort of laxative or diuretic. Some bulimics will even mix a few of these together as a form of purging.
Myth: Bulimia is Not Life Threatening
Fact: Being bulimic can absolutely be life threatening. By continually doing the binging and purging process, the body is losing potassium and electrolytes. These are two nutrients that are necessary to sustain life. Heart attacks and strokes are the two most common fatalities that happen to bulimics when they are deprived from potassium and electrolytes. Due to all of the stomach acids coming back up, the ulcers and stomach ruptures are common in bulimics. The stomach acids eat away at the insides and can cause serious damage.
Bulimia may seem like an easy way to get excess weight off fast but this is a very serious condition. The body needs certain nutrients to function properly. When these nutrients are not there, the body begins to shut down. Bulimia needs to be taken seriously and may require treatment by a doctor or even a counselor. Getting help for this condition as early as possible may help to prevent serious damage to the body.