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Bulimia Nervosa: How Does it Affect One’s Mental Health?

woman biting nailsBulimia Nervosa, also as bulimia, is an eating disorder. One of the prime symptoms of it is consuming a large amount of food and drinks, which leads to vomiting. Purging is usually self-induced vomiting, a common practice for a  bulimic person.

Individuals with bulimia excessive excessively or use laxatives to purge. Purging can be very harmful to the bulimic individual. This may give a noticeable effect such as tooth decay, puffy cheeks, red eyes, raspy voice, and a cough. Once these symptoms are present, one must seek immediate medical help.

Who is Affected by Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Nervosa affects adolescent and adult women aged 14 years old and above. The National Eating Disorder Association found that this condition affects 1-2% of adolescents and young women.  People with bulimia often maintain an average weight and are good at hiding their condition. By this, it becomes very difficult for family, friends, and even professionals to recognize the problem immediately. Sometimes it’s too late, and one’s health might already be facing the impact and harm.

Does Bulimia Nervosa Affect One’s Mental Health?

woman hands-on faceDSM-5 or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 has a specific criterion to diagnose bulimia. Individuals who eat a lot more than an average person would do in two hours is one criterion. Someone who doesn’t have control over what they eat or cannot stop eating will resort to induce vomiting. These circumstances are severe and co-occur with the mental disorder – bulimia.

As per The National Eating Disorder Association, bulimia is now an eating disorder that is associated with several health issues. This includes mental health problems like depression and anxiety too. According to research, anxiety, and mood disorders are familiar to people who are struggling with eating disorders. The experience a change in brain chemicals. For example, the serotonin, become the heart of eating disorders, depression, and even anxiety. Actions such as binge eating, starvation, and purging affect the mood. This behavior, according to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, is the hallmark of an eating disorder.

So, for the question, does bulimia affects one’s mental health? The answer is YES.  However, it is more evident than mood disorder is the underlying cause of bulimia. An individual who is struggling with bulimia may not have a history of body image issues in its childhood years. But may recall a particular ritualistic behavior that can eventually cause bulimia symptoms. Likewise, bulimia becomes a coping mechanism of an individual that is struggling with depression and anxiety. Sometimes a major life trauma or life change can also cause bulimia.

How Does Bulimia Nervosa Affect One’s Mental Health?

woman sad alone depressedBulimic individuals are tough to suspect or even detect since they are good at hiding it. But hiding one’s eating disorder affects one’s mental health. Bulimic individuals have feelings of shame, guilt, lack of self-control, and distorted body image. All of this is caused by the repetitive binge-purge cycle.

Moreover, having this condition in secret causes individual feelings of stress and anxiety. Thus leading to more serious mental health conditions. This includes issues like low self-esteem, impulsive behavior, obsessive-compulsive disorder, significant mood swings. He or she might also experience general anxiety, acts of self-harm, depressive thoughts and actions, and self-isolation. These effects are potentially life-threatening with more complications. It is significant to take action immediately.

Bulimia is becoming a severe mental health condition. Its symptoms can bring a deadly complication. Anyone who develops an unhealthy food relationship must seek immediate medical attention. Allow qualified doctors to diagnose the person correctly. They can help to address any symptoms and find out the underlying cause and other related issues. This is essential in the treatment process.

Although bulimia takes time to recover, it is important to provide both your mind and body ample time to heal. It is vitally important to understand that help is available. Also, remember that there is no shame in having this kind of eating disorder or any other psychological disorder. There is help as long as one can accept that there is a problem, and understand that one needs professional help. So, if you have symptoms of Bulimia or know anyone who might have, make sure you consult a professional. Timely intervention can foster healing!

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