Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by episodes of binging and purging (i.e. eating large amount in a short space of time followed by self-induced vomiting) as a way to control weight gain. The use of laxatives and diuretics are common.

Anyone can develop bulimia and at any age. Most affected appear to be young women between the ages of 14 to 25. However, men are also affected.

There is not one but many factors that might cause Bulimia. They are not always easy to identify but they might include any of the following:

  • Frequent concern over weight gain
  • Engaging in diets
  • Poor confidence
  • Emotional distress
  • Family dynamics (e.g. pressure) and attitude towards body image and food
  • Stress e.g. sudden change, loss, disappointment, death, abuse
  • Genes

Symptoms will vary and can go completely unnoticed. However, the following are quite common:

  • Constantly thinks of food
  • Calorie counts
  • Eats excessive amounts in a very short space of time followed by purging
  • Dislikes own physical appearance
  • Goes frequently to the toilet, especially after meals
  • Struggles with feelings of guilt
  • Signs of Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive compulsive disorders
  • Substance use

Long-term effects could include:

  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling faint
  • Constipation
  • Tooth decay
  • Sore throat
  • Rupture of the oesophagus
  • Facial swell
  • Bloating
  • Damage to kindneys
  • Dry skin
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infertility
  • And many more effects that could lead in some severe cases to trigger epilepsy or death.

Bulimia needs specialist help to treat both the psychological causes and its physical side effects. This is a process that can take time and will depend largely on the motivation levels of the person with bulimia to want to change. A multidisciplinary team composed of a medical doctor, a psychotherapist, a nutritionist amongst other experts will be required. Depending on levels of severity, either outpatient or inpatient treatment maybe advised. Seeking help can be difficult and filled with a lot of ambivalence. At MEEDA, we are here to help provide support and guide you in the best way possible. You can contact us or request a short talk over our Online HotLine.


Full recovery from bulimia is possible and many do recover in just a few months with the right professional help.