Being concerned about bulimia is one of the most intense feelings. You might ask yourself questions like: Can bulimia kill you? As someone concerned about bulimia, you might worry about the long-term health outlook, complications of bulimia, and how to live a better life.

That’s why we’ll list personal stories about bulimia, its cause, treatment options, and complications.

Personal stories about bulimia

What is bulimia?

Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is a psychological eating disorder. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of binge-eating followed by inappropriate methods of weight control (purging). Inappropriate methods of weight control include vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or compulsive exercising. Excessive shape and weight concerns are also characteristics of bulimia. A binge is an episode where an individual eats a much larger amount of food than most people would in a similar situation. Binge eating is not a response to intense hunger. It is usually a response to depression, stress, or self esteem issues. During the binge episode, the individual experiences a loss of control. However, the sense of a loss of control is also followed by a short-lived calmness. The calmness is often followed by self-loathing. The cycle of overeating and purging usually becomes an obsession and is repeated often.

Bulimia was only diagnosed as its own eating disorder in the 1980s. People with bulimia can look perfectly normal. Most of them are of normal weight, and some may be overweight. Women with bulimia tend to be high achievers.

It is often difficult to determine whether a person is suffering from bulimia. This occurs because bingeing and purging is often done in secret. Also, individuals suffering from bulimia often deny their condition.

Sufferers consume huge quantities of food. Sometimes up to 20,000 calories at a time. The foods on which they binge tend to be foods labeled as “comfort foods” — sweet foods, high in calories, or smooth, soft foods like ice cream, cake, and pastry. An individual may binge anywhere from twice a day to several times daily.

Dangers of bulimia

Bulimia is a serious problem that needs medical attention. Individuals with bulimia may develop serious complications including erratic heartbeat, internal bleeding, a weakened immune system, anemia, depletion of fluid balance, electrolyte imbalances, hypoglycemia, infertility, kidney or liver damage, malnutrition, cessation of the menstrual cycles, mental fuzziness, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone mass, low pulse rate, low blood pressure, a ruptured stomach, stones in the salivary glands, tooth or gum erosion, and ulcers.

Also, if the fat content in a woman’s body drops to too low a level, the body will not produce enough estrogen, which can result in destruction of bone tissue and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Eventually, life-threatening problems can result, including cancers of the breast, bowel, esophagus, or reproductive organs; kidney or liver damage, and heart attack.

Can bulimia kill you?

Yes. In bulimia is a condition that affects every organ and system in the body. If not treated properly, bulimia can kill you.

How to help someone with bulimia

If you have a family member that with an eating disorder, your family member needs a lot of support. Suggest that your family member see an eating disorder expert. Be prepared for denial, resistance, and even anger. A doctor and/or a counselor can help them battle their eating disorder.

What causes bulimia?

There is currently no definite known cause of bulimia. Researchers believe it begins with dissatisfaction of the person’s body and extreme concern with body size and shape. Usually individuals suffering from bulimia have low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness and a fear of becoming fat

What are bulimia risk factors?

There are certain professions where eating orders are more prevalent. Thinness is usually emphasized in these professions. The professions are: modeling, dancing, gymnastics, wrestling, and long-distance running.

Bulimia statistics

  • Bulimia affects about 10% of college age women in the United States
  • About 10% of individuals diagnosed with bulimia are men
  • 10% of individuals will die from either starvation, cardiac arrest, other medical complications, or suicide

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