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Understanding Bulimia Nervosa Essay

994 words - 4 pages

In a culture where thinness is too often associated with physical attractiveness, success, and happiness, nearly everyone has dealt with issues regarding the effect their weight and body shape can have on their self-image. However, eating disorders are not about dieting or pride, they're complex psychological disorders in which an individual's eating patterns are developed and then habitually maintained in an attempt to deal with other problems in their life. Many loved ones attempt to help the suffering patient however they don't understand the disease themselves. In order to help someone with bulimia one must understand what bulimia is, how it is diagnosed and the most important how it is treated.In order to understand this particular disorder it is important that one realizes what bulimia is. Bulimia is defined as "periods of uncontrolled eating." (Goldner) "A person eats anywhere between 1,000 and 60,000 calories in a sitting."(Bierma) Some attempt to counteract the eating by dieting, exercise or other extreme behaviors such as self-induced vomiting and laxatives. "The use of vomiting by bulimics can easily become addictive. Although in the first instance they may have done it to get rid of excess food calories, it soon becomes a form of security. They are afraid to stop because they fear their eating habits are out of control and without the use of vomiting they fear they will become grossly overweight."(Collins) People with bulimia feel uncomfortable with their bodies and are very sensitive to changes in their weight. It is also common for people to be ashamed of their symptoms and therefore hide it example feeling ill, or going to the bathroom a lot. For some people bulimia can be a very serious problem that can affect their life on a daily bases. "Bulimia can cause serious health problems, ranging from esophagus and tooth damage (from vomiting) to kidney and heart problems, dehydration, and an overall loss of energy. In rare cases, bulimia can cause the stomach or esophagus to rupture, which in turn can cause hemorrhaging and death. Fluid and electrolyte imbalances caused by purging can lead to an irregular heartbeat, which in turn can lead to a heart attack. Some people with bulimia use Ipecac syrup to induce vomiting, which can weaken muscles and cause life-threatening heart problems. Laxative abuse can cause long-lasting digestive and bowel problems. The mortality rate for eating disorders, including anorexia, may be as high as 10 to 15 percent, taking into account deaths from related heart and intestinal damage and suicide" (Bierma) Eating disorders know no boundaries they can strike at any time, age, race, or sex. Therefore it is important to understand what bulimia is before helping a love one.Another important aspect that people need to understand about this disorder is how it is diagnosed. "Before it is diagnosed symptoms must be present such as gastrointestinal problems if a persons binging regularly or using laxatives. Serious...

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