Amazing Facts About Bulimia Nervosa



People generally use carbohydrates as their food of choice in bulimia, though they may choose fatty foods as well. These are mood altering by way of the serotonergic system, and they also lead to a sense of fullness by filling the stomach and putting pressure on the diapgragm. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

If you are a bulimic, you’d have an irrepressible and unmanageable urge to gorge followed by a relentless impulse to spew out the large quantity of food consumed. Almost all bulimics follow a similar pattern like yours, of first bingeing and thereafter purging, all with the sole objective of staying as slim as possible. Bulimia nervosa, like anorexia, is more of a psychological disorder that is brought about by the interaction of an array of risk factors, including genetic, environmental, societal, and behavioral.

Bulimia as an eating disorder usually predominates in women compared to men, particularly when they are in their teens, twenties, and thirties. However bulimics can expect a full recovery, thanks to the availability of advanced inpatient and outpatient treatment options. Following are some startling facts about bulimia nervosa:


  • Bulimia nervosa is idiopathic, i.e. there is no single cause which can be held responsible for triggering the outbreak or development of the disorder in an individual
  • The eating disorder could be genetic-You’re at greater or higher risk of developing the disorder if someone in your immediate family or a close relative has any type of eating disorder

Bulimia nervosa afflicts approximately 4% of women and 0.5% of men in the US. Nearly 4% of those suffering from bulimia will die from the disease and nearly all struggling with the illness experience serious medical and/ or emotional effects. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

  • It is the society, you stupid-Western societies tend to be obsessed with slimness and always urge individuals to keep weight as low as possible. Obesity is considered a taboo. Therefore people, mostly women are fixated with maintaining a reed thin figure in order to make selves more appealing, and often end up developing detrimental eating habits.
  • The disorderliness exists more in the mind-Apparently, bulimia is an eating disorder but in reality, the disorderliness is mental. Bulimics find bingeing as a means of escapement from feelings of shame, guilt, or suicide that cause emotional turmoil. Bulimia is often co-morbid or in other words, bulimia patients often suffer from an additional health issue or issues that could be physical or mental or both.


If the statistic published by ‘National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders’ is to be believed, then bulimia along with anorexia and binge-eating disorder are amongst the most fatalistic mental disorders in the US.

  • Bulimics find themselves trapped in a web of obsessive habits-As a bulimic you’d find yourself struggling hard to contain your food cravings. You’d be storing food items in the unlikeliest of places (apart from the regular ones) so that you can access the same whenever you wish to. At the same time, you’ll be continually stocking up on laxatives, diuretics, and emetics-medicines that induce regurgitation.

You’d also have the compulsive need to exercising strenuously in order to burn calories. To accelerate the calorie torching process, you may also resort to starving, doing without big meals and surviving on tidbits.

  • Bulimia can prove to be very damaging for women-Female bulimics will experience problems with menstrual cycles often missing periods. Pregnant women could be at risk of suffering miscarriages, giving birth to stillborns or giving birth to babies with congenital defects, and so on

The person restricting calories, bingeing, purging, or excessively exercising may become anxious about getting caught or irritable when accusing a loved one of being unfairly suspicious or “controlling.” — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

  • Bulimia can play havoc with the well-being of the affected person-Individuals with bulimia will have weakened digestive and metabolic systems. Electrolyte imbalance, anemia, dehydration, dry skin, ulcers, kidney failure, gastrointestinal issues, and esophageal ruptures are some common problems that bulimics face.
  • A good proportion of bulimics happen to be men-Though members of the opposite sex are more vulnerable to bulimia nervosa, men are equally at risk of developing the eating disorder. 15% of individuals undergoing treatment for various eating disorders happen to be men, as per reports released by ANAD.
  •  The road to recovery is a long one and can be challenging-It might take months, if not years for a bulimic to recuperate fully and get back to living a healthy life.




Patients of bulimia need to realize that a combination of effective treatment plans that integrate supervised dietary regimen, scientific workout schedule, psychotherapy sessions, and an appropriate medication system will help them to recover.

Is Bulimia Nervosa Treatable?

Nowadays, the increasing pressure to have this hourglass, model-like body is very observable. Even little kids already know what is physically attractive and what is not. This unrealistic notion influences the youth to pursue these outrageous standards. Hence, several problems such as eating disorders, depression, and obsession arise.

Someone who is struggling with an eating disorder may attempt to eat “normally” in the presence of others, and then look for opportunities to be alone to find ways to binge or purge. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

It is totally fine to be physically fit and healthy, but if you are overdoing it, that’s a different discussion. One of the most common problems that this specific standard of having an hourglass figure creates is an eating disorder.

Different Types of Eating Disorder

There are three major types of eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa is the condition wherein the individual restricts the intake of food to avoid being fat when in reality, the person is already thin. The second one is called binge eating disorder which is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to eat despite being full or not being hungry. Lastly, bulimia nervosa is characterized by purging, vomiting, or exercising excessively after binge eating.


Let’s Focus on Bulimia Nervosa

Apparently, you should know that there are two common types of bulimia nervosa. The first one is the purging type which is characterized by self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives to compensate after a binging episode. The second type is the non-purging bulimia nervosa. This form does not engage in self-induced vomiting. Rather, the individual who has this condition compensates by exercising excessively or fasting for extended periods of time.

Opposing and competitive opinions and theoretical perspectives in conjunction with discrepancies and inconclusive outcomes in quantitative and qualitative research continue to make it difficult to understanding causation and therefore establish solid treatment protocols. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS


The typical causes of bulimia are usually stress, negative body image, low self-esteem, history of abuse or trauma, and/or other related factors. Despite these known factors, the specific cause of bulimia nervosa is not yet identified.

What can we do to treat Bulimia Nervosa?

Given the knowledge that you already know about bulimia nervosa, you probably have an idea what you can do to prevent it. Since one of the underlying factors for this condition is low self-esteem and the need to be thin just to be accepted by the society, it is understandable that doing activities to boost your morale can help. These activities, such as playing sports, joining a club, and others can help in increasing self-esteem, therefore lowering the risk for bulimia nervosa.

Another helpful treatment would be to discontinue the binge-purge cycle and to improve your negative thoughts so you won’t feel guilty about yourself and end up purging or over-exercising again. Re-establishing the way that you view yourself can help you erase the irrational beliefs about your weight or your body shape. As long as you are healthy, you are perfect the way you are.



The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

The most important treatment is to seek out a professional that can help you through the process of dealing with bulimia nervosa. This kind of disorder can lead to serious medical complications. Delaying to seek out for help is a really bad idea.

If you know anyone who is having a hard time dealing with their eating habits, he or she might be at risk of developing bulimia nervosa. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help.

Bulimia: Knowing When To Seek Treatment


Deciding when to seek treatment is probably the hardest step in the recovery process. It requires you to realize that you need help and that you can’t beat your eating disorder alone. Seeking professional assistance is necessary because of the life-threatening status of eating disorders. When your eating disorder is in control, you lose the ability to think rationally and to see the damaging effects it has on your physical and mental health. A therapist can help you look at the situation logically and learn coping skills to deal with stress or poor self-esteem associated with your disorder.

The lack of seriousness taken by many patients regarding the medical sequeale of Anorexia and Bulimia, contributes to the inability to choose the best protocol for care and therefore increases the likelihood of treatment failure. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

When deciding if therapy is the right option for you, it is important to ask yourself these questions:


Is It Causing You Harm?


Eating disorders isolate you from your loved ones and cause you to doubt your own views and beliefs. Your insecurity and poor self-image is in control of your actions and behaviors.

Harm doesn’t necessarily mean physical symptoms, though these are also a cause for concern. Harm can refer to emotional and social harm. One example of this is that your mental state can be altered by low self-esteem and negative self-talk, both of which can lead to a damaging body image.

Bulimia nervosa will also manifest physically. This can be through harmful weight loss or acid reflux disorder. These disorders can cause pain to the individual.

Anyone who is has an eating disorder is very invested in maintaining the thoughts and behaviors that fuel it, so when a loved one expresses concern they may be met with anger or defensiveness. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Is It Affecting The People Around You?

Your eating disorder will affect you and everyone around you. It will put a strain on your relationships. When someone’s friend or family member is hurting themselves and not seeking to change, it’s stressful for the individual. It’s unbelievably hard to watch someone you love damage himself in permanent ways because he won’t admit he has a problem.

Your eating disorder will make you to act out and become isolated from the people around you. This is because your disorder is in control of your decisions, not you. You will find yourself making excuses and avoiding interaction because you’re too afraid of getting caught. You dread to face the consequences.

If you notice that you are pulling away from your friends and family, it’s time to seek treatment and professional help. The situation gets much more dangerous when you lack a support system to encourage you and provide strength when things get really hard.


Is It Preventing You From Living A Normal Life?


Your eating disorder can potentially prevent you from experiencing a normal life. You will become so focused on what food you are consuming and the act of purging that you will neglect your daily tasks and the jobs that need to be completed.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Bulimia is a very secretive disorder, as mentioned earlier. You will hide your behavior around food and it will cause you to isolate yourself from the society. Professional help is needed to go on living a normal life while battling your disorder. You need to be equipped of the tools to cope with your poor self-image and low confidence levels.

If you find yourself unable to attend school or work, you are in a dangerous territory because you/re losing control. Once you neglect the activities you love, you have reached life-threatening waters and should seek help immediately. It’s important to reach out for treatment, even if you’re scared of people finding out about you. Your mental health is the most important thing and should be your priority.

Bulimia And Depression – The Connection, Its Dangers, The Cycle, And Online Therapy




What came first? Is it the chicken or the egg? Nobody can answer that question and the same rings true for the connection between bulimia and depression. If you think about it, why is the person depressed? Why is he or she bulimic? Could it be that he or she was suffering from depression first, that’s why the person developed an eating disorder? Or is it possible that through the person’s bulimia, he or she became depressed?

Symptoms of depression including sleep disturbance, excessive guilt, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable, can be the byproduct of feeling trapped or stuck in a behavior that they know on some level is harmful to them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Thinking about the extreme phenomenon is head-splitting, and truly crazy. Nobody wants to be depressed, but to be bulimic at the same time, it’s too much!


The Two Mental Health Disorders Go Hand In Hand

So, there you go. It’s official. A study revealed that people with anorexia tend to exhibit depression especially if they have bulimic tendencies. These are clinically diagnosed cases with a very high rate of people manifesting suicidal thoughts. A study by Levy in 1989 uncovered that people with bulimia are mostly depressed and have contemplated or attempted suicide. Another research proved that 59% of people with bulimia, who are of average weight, have suffered depression. As for anorexics, the rate is astounding at 80%.




A Chain That Links Bulimia And Depression

You often hear bulimics say – I only want to lose weight. Yes, that’s usually the honest answer. People want to look fit and healthy even if their insides are not in tiptop shape.

Because patients deny the severity of their condition they cannot accept the effects of malnutrition on heart, brain, organ and bone health. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

If you are bulimic, then you have a mental health issue since it is an eating disorder. You are not only sick physically, but you are also psychologically “ill,” so to speak. Your hormones are in constant disarray since your serotonin and norepinephrine levels are unstable. It can increase the risk of you developing a more extreme depressive disorder and an abnormal eating habit, or non-eating, for that matter.


Factors That Contribute To The Development Of Depression And Bulimia

–    Self and body image issues

–    The feeling of not being in control of his or her life

–    “Loser” attributes

–    Being unhealthily angry

–    Extreme sadness or feeling all alone

–    Insomnia or oversleeping

–    Failed relationships

–    Post-traumatic stress

–    Physical, verbal, emotional, and mental abuse


The Bulimic Cycle

They call it the “Act of Purging.” You binge-eat, and then you purge. Why? A bulimic person must feel in control, and after feeling guilty for overeating, they will throw it all up and by that, regain that “I-am-in-command” feeling. This pattern is called the bulimic cycle.


It is disturbing because the guilt trip can add to the severity of the depression in people with bulimia. As if one mental health disorder is not enough – they need to suffer more! It’s crazy! For some, they even commit suicide and succeed, which is very dangerous. Purging may be the lesser of two evils if the other choice is fatal self-harm. It will never be a good option, but then at least, the person still has a chance to survive. With overflowing support and massive help, bulimics with depression may be able to cope, heal, and in time, start a new life free from mental health issues.



The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

TreatmentFor Depression And Bulimia

Lisa Lilenfeld, Ph.D. from Argosy University in Arlington, VA said that there are two proven ways to help a depressed bulimic. One is through medication and intake of antidepressants. But this method is not safe for everyone.


The second way is through behavioral therapy. It may take a long time for the person to improve psychologically, but with regular sessions and follow-up, there is hope for a brighter future. For some, they also resort to online therapy when an actual face-to-face encounter is not viable. Anyway, as long as the treatment program is useful, then, there’s no problem. There are many reviews on the web about online platforms such as BetterHelp. A lot of people have testified to its benefits and how it worked wonders for them. If you want to learn more about this type of therapy, you can read about it or watch informative videos.

Helping Your Teen Fight Against Bulimia (Tips From A Psychiatrist)




Bulimia nervosa, a severe psychiatric disorder, has made a significant impact on the society. According to a study, about eight million individuals in the United States (about 3% of the population) struggle with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. It affects men and women of all ages and race, whatever history, and background.


Moreover, the symptoms of bulimia often manifest at an early age, around teenage years. It is because disorders and mental issues often arise during stages of growth like puberty. But as parents, how can we pinpoint whether or not our child is struggling with bulimia? And most importantly, how can we help in seeking treatment and fighting against it?

Oftentimes, symptoms and behaviors are rationalized and minimized by the person who engages in them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Causes Of Bulimia

Like anorexia and other eating disorders, the exact cause of bulimia nervosa is often difficult to determine. There may be risks of forming genetic links if, say, a parent or a sibling is suffering from an eating disorder. Some studies imply that brain activity may influence food intake. Pop culture also has a significant role in projecting the perfect “body image” onto the public, which instills pressure and decreases the self-esteem of many.




 Looking Out For Warning Signs And Symptoms

Your child may show some signs of bulimia nervosa or none at all. Most people keep the fact that they’re struggling with an eating disorder hidden, so observing and looking out for the following signs is very crucial:


  • Obsession with body image and weight
  • Unusual behavior around meals (eating in large quantities and feeling shameful after)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Hiding or hoarding food and groceries
  • Asking for money to buy binge food
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Excessive exercising

Clients with anorexia and bulimia who have pervasive psychological undercurrents motivating their behavior with food are negatively impacted by the billion dollar marketing efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

Your child may even suffer from symptoms of physical damage as a result of persistent binging and purging:


  • Menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
  • Poor bowel functioning
  • Hoarse and raspy voice condition
  • Mouth and throat sores
  • Teeth and gum damage
  • Scars on the knuckles, fingers, or hands (self-induced vomiting)



Seeking Treatment For Bulimia

The following treatments can be used to help your child:



Antidepressants, from time-to-time, are used to decrease cycles of binge eating and purging as well as relieve anxiety and depression from the patient.



Psychological counseling has two types: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). CBT pushes your child to change how he/she feels about body image and weight while IPT plays a significant role in teaching your child the impact of relationships and how those relationships and your child’s feelings towards them affect bingeing and purging.

Today, there are numerous options on how you can have therapy. You can opt for online counseling with the institution of your choice, such as BetterHelp. Many of those struggling with eating disorders have successfully overcome it with the help of qualified professionals.



Tips To Follow For Parents Of Bulimics

As parents, what tips should you keep in mind when helping your child? Some of these tips were taken online from the articles of Dr. Kim Dennis, a psychiatrist connected with Timberline Knolls:


Communication. Keeping lines of communication open for your child is essential. They need to be consoled knowing that it’s okay to talk about their struggles and feelings.


Be patient and calm. Keep your frustrations at bay. It is clear that your child’s issue is very concerning and worrying, but it is best to be able to take the problem head on without anything blinding the way.


Help your child admit and accept that they’re struggling. Parents play a significant role in shaping their children to be who they will be in the future. Give them a nudge, sit down and have a talk or a good cry. Help them admit it to themselves and learn that what they are doing is distorted and not suitable for themselves.


Expose your child to positive outlets. Keep those fashion magazines away. Remind your child to avoid peers who body shame or continuously talk about weight loss, and look up better meal planning and healthy eating lifestyle.


Fight their unpleasant feelings with them. Identify what your child is feeling. Help them dig deeper and realize that these are not positively influencing your child. Distance from negativity and evil thoughts but accept it instead of running away from it.


Offer support. Always remember how your child feels and remind him/her you care.

Suggest professional help. When you talk, coax your child into seeking for help. Tell them it’s entirely helpful, and diminish any negative stigma about therapy and counseling.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Remember that your teen is developing and transitioning to adulthood. Avoid giving insults and patronizing jabs, it may hurt them more than you think. Always set a good example and take care of yourself; it is no exaggeration when people say that a child is a reflection of their parents. Lastly, always know when to accept your limits. There’s only so much a parent can do for their child. It is essential to keep in mind that your child is the one who will make decisions and make those big leaps to growth and betterment.

Facts About Exercise Bulimia (Is My Partner Suffering From It?) Part 2

If you haven’t read the Part 1 of this article, then it is recommended that you do so first before reading this one. The first article is all about Exercise Bulimia, in general. This writeup discusses the risks of the suffering from the disorder, recovery suggestions, and relevant questions with answers about the issue.


The behaviors might get downplayed or even flat out denied by the person who is trying to sustain them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Exercise bulimia is not that hard to spot – excessive exercise, obsession with body image and body weight, constant checking of calories in food, losing weight drastically, erratic behavior – always wanting to work out, depression, and anxiety – these are just some of the signs. If you partner is displaying such symptoms, get help as soon as possible.


What Are The Risks Of Exercise Bulimia?


Exercise bulimia, just like purging, poses life-threatening issues to the body. Below are some effects of the disorder:


Negative Impact On The Heart. Ideally, exercising should only last for a maximum of 50 minutes in a day. Pushing the limits will decrease the heart’s pumping ability. It will then lead to cardiovascular problems.

Because patients deny the severity of their condition they cannot accept the effects of malnutrition on heart, brain, organ and bone health. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Weakened Immune System. A hard workout can cause respiratory problems, and the treatment is prolonged since the body is stressed out.


Weakened Bones And Joints. People who exercise more than the recommended time is prone to getting bone fractures and torn joints.


Damage To Internal Organs. When the person is regularly stressed and restless, the toxins and free radicals that get inside the body can cause severe injuries to the organs.


Muscle Wear And Tear. Body ache is experienced due to strained tendons, ligaments, and muscles. If there is no rest state, the body can’t heal properly.


Vitamins And Mineral Deficiencies. Over-exercising depletes the nutrients and eventually causes complications.


Increased Food Cravings OrBinging. After every hard workout, the human body has this great urge to consume sugar. If this need is not met, it can lead to binge-eating.


What Steps Can I Take To Recover From Exercise Bulimia?


Get Professional Help. You can ask help from friends and family for support. There is a support group for people with exercise bulimia. You can find it online or within your community. It is also necessary to seek professional psychiatric help.


Practice Rest And Self-Care. Take care of yourself. Get into a healthy lifestyle and take adequate rest.


Manage Stress. Find other ways to manage your stress. There are numerous ways on how to do it like a spa day, reading a book, journaling, coffee time with your girls, and a lot more.


Ease Your Mind. Accept that at this point, over-exercising will do no good for you. From now on, you need to look at your purpose of being healthy from a positive angle.


Reduce the amount of time you spend working out. Lessen the time you spend exercising. Gradually do this until you are coping with the idea of liking your body image and loving yourself.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Do I Have To Stop Working Out Entirely To Recover?


If you want a full recovery from exercise bulimia, then you need to have a new and fresh outlook towards health and food. Exercising is part a person’s healthy lifestyle habits. You just have to do it accordingly without binge-eating and feeling guilty.


Will I Gain Weight If I Stop Exercising?


Gaining weight is a possibility since you will be eating more food and lessening your exercise hours. The body will have to readjust its function, and the metabolism will soon pick up. Just go on with your healthy lifestyle and don’t go overboard again with your exercise. In time, your healthy weight and body will emerge.


Is A Full Recovery Possible?

Yes, it is possible. The moment you accept your body image and do something positive about it, you can achieve full recovery. You just have to listen to others and submit yourself to treatment if you want to get better.


Exercise bulimia is manageable, but then you need to prepare yourself for the long and painful road. It takes dedication and discipline to get through this mental health condition.

Facts About Exercise Bulimia (Is My Partner Suffering From It?) Part 1


Jed thought that his wife was just determined to lose weight after their baby was born. She would only eat fruits and bread every day and was strict with her calorie counting. After that, his wife would perform a strenuous exercise routine. He didn’t mind it that much until he received a phone call at work. His wife died at the gym while she was working out and had cardiac arrest at age 34.

Sometimes the thinking by patients and family members is that if the effects of the illness are not overt, then how can a problem exist. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

What Jed didn’t know was that his wife suffered from a psychological problem called Exercise Bulimia. Exercise Bulimia is a form of physical workout performed by a person who wants to shed off unwanted body fats and calories in an extreme manner. This exercise is done in a very rigid way compared to regular healthy exercise. The effect of exercise bulimia on the human body is more on the negative side rather than the positive side.


This type of exercise is done by people with bulimia as a replacement for purging, but the effect is still the same. It can put people’s health and life in danger. The whole situation can become life-threatening when the person purges and uses exercise bulimia, just to get rid of unwanted body fat and calories.


What Is Exercise Bulimia?

Exercise bulimia is classified as a type of bulimia nervosa. It is a workout style that is driven by the intense desire to burn out calories at the soonest possible time. The person with the disorder tracks down his food intake and then calculates how to burn them off.


Instead of purging, the person uses this form of exercise to disable the food intake from turning into excess fats. It is mostly accompanied by anxiety, especially if food and body image issues are present. Clearly, a person who suffers from exercise bulimia also has other mental health disorders to manage.

When weight, body size and shape are seen as synonymous with love, acceptance, and self-worth, young people are vulnerable to the efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

The Difference Between Getting Fit Through Exercise And Over-Exercising


Getting fit and being obsessed with exercise lies on a very thin line. People work out several times a week to get healthy. Others are facing the risk of getting addicted to exercise coupled with bulimia and anxiety issues. On a worst-case scenario, some people would even do their workout routine if they are not feeling well just to meet their target. This action puts a person’s life at risk.


How Do I Know If I Have Exercise Bulimia?


Since working out is one of the two means to get healthy and fit, exercise bulimia is hardly recognized at first. It will only be diagnosed as such when the result of rigid exercising surfaces. However, it can still be uncovered with the following questions:


  • Do you intentionally skip events, functions and other essential meetings so that you could work out?
  • Do you feel guilty whenever you miss a workout session?
  • Has anybody told you that you are exercising too much?
  • Do you have a target number of calories to be burned whenever you are exercising?
  • Do you rigidly track down the food you eat?
  • Is being fit very important to you?
  • Do you believe that your self-worth will be defined by how much you weigh or look?
  • For female respondents, is the menstruation flow extraordinarily light or infrequent?
  • Do you often take measurements of yourself?

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

If you answered YES to at least five of the questions stated above, then you may be at risk of developing exercise bulimia. Now, if you responded YES to ALL THE QUESTIONS, then you have exercise bulimia, and you need immediate treatment.


There is a second part to this article which discusses the risks of exercise bulimia, how to recover from the same mental health disorder and other essential facts about it. It is in the hopes of the writer of this article that you’ve learned something about exercise bulimia by reading this short writeup. If you have a loved one who is exhibiting signs of exercise bulimia, then push for help and treatment immediately.

The Key Points Of Supporting Your Loved One With Bulimia


Talking to your loved one with bulimia can be a challenge, but showing the person your support will slowly eliminate the fear, shame, and guilt. I remember my wife, Reena, back when we were in the university. She was still my girlfriend back then. As soon as I stepped in our dorm room, it smelled of rotten eggs and old noodles. I thought it was my laundry or food that I had left lying around for days. It was late when I realized that Reena was bulimic, and she had been binge-eating and purging for years without my knowledge.

The lack of seriousness taken by many patients regarding the medical sequeale of Anorexia and Bulimia, contributes to the inability to choose the best protocol for care and therefore increases the likelihood of treatment failure. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

We Feel Obligated To Help Our Loved One With Bulimia

I felt obligated to help her. She was my girlfriend, and I wanted her to get better. I wanted her to be healthy and happy. At first, she denied everything, even if I saw her puke jars hidden away. It was awful and truly disgusting. I wanted to slap her so she could make sense of herself, but also at the same time, I needed her to come clean and tell me how I can help her.


Without her approval, I went to an eating disorder specialist and told her of the issue. She said that I cannot force Reena to go into treatment for now. The specialist also mentioned that there are ways to talk to a person with bulimia to overcome the fear, shame, and guilt.


She also explained to me that it wouldn’t be easy, and at times I may have arguments and confrontations with my girlfriend. I said that I was ready for it, even if I was not, and yet I had to do it for Reena’s sake. The expert gave me tips on how to talk to her which I followed. Not long after I practiced these ways, my girlfriend was slowly trusting me and was letting me in again.


Clients with anorexia and bulimia who have pervasive psychological undercurrents motivating their behavior with food are negatively impacted by the billion dollar marketing efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

How To Talk To Someone With Bulimia

During your conversation with your loved one, as much as possible, use the pronoun “I” to let her know that you are with her in this struggle. In this way, she will identify your support and eventually, the trust will follow.


“I want to help you.”

“I understand you.”

“I will always be here for you.”

“I love you.”


These were the words that came out of my mouth every time Reena purged. She would cry, and tell me that she doesn’t understand why she’s acting that way. All she knows is that she feels so bad about herself which makes her want to vomit after binge-eating.


It was too much for me at times. The whole situation can be overwhelming. With that, the eating disorder specialist told me that I need a support system. You can talk to a trusted friend or a family member. If your partner has a mental health issue, (bulimia is considered as one), it will be heavy for you. You also need to talk to others about the situation to sort out your thoughts. As for me, I turned to my mother. She inspired me to become Reena’s rock.



Be Prepared For Their Reaction.

Denial or refusal to get help is the most common reaction you’ll get from a person with bulimia the moment you extend help. Continue to offer it anyway and while doing so, follow up on your research about the condition and show your undying support. Convince her to get professional help. Through persistent talk, she will eventually give in.


However, if your partner is experiencing chest pains, dizziness, and blackouts and if you find blood in either vomit or stool, this needs immediate medical attention. Bring her to the hospital immediately.


Reena didn’t reach that point, thank God, but if I didn’t discover it, she would have worsened. After weeks of “pestering” her to see the eating disorder specialist, she finally gave in. It took my brave wife 26 months to heal from her mental health issue and recover from bulimia.

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

Never Ever Give Up.

Never give up. That’s my ultimate advice to those who are assisting their loved ones with eating disorders. Their lives are at stake here, and if you decide to meddle in their binge and purge cycle, arm yourself with unconditional love. You and your partner will need it.

What To Do When Your Spouse Has Bulimia


Bulimia is an eating disorder that is most common in women. But it can happen to anyone. Bulimia comes in with so many difficulties that it needs the support of your family, friends and mostly, your spouse. If your significant other has bulimia, then you have to get yourself educated with the said condition. In this way, you can help your partner deal with it and overcome the disorder.

With our eating disorder treatment centers currently full across the nation, one important word has been on our minds…PREVENTION. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

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My Partner Has Bulimia, And She Needs My Support: 5 Ways To Assist Your Loved One With An Eating Disorder


Overcoming bulimia is a painful journey. It is true for both the person with bulimia and her loved one. The trip is even more painful when the one with the eating disorder won’t cooperate with you. You’ll have to understand that the shame and guilt would fill them once they accept your help.

Clients with anorexia and bulimia who have pervasive psychological undercurrents motivating their behavior with food are negatively impacted by the billion dollar marketing efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S 

Acknowledging that they need your assistance is like admitting that they have a mental health problem and that is very difficult to swallow. However, no matter what your loved one declares, you know that your loved one needs support. Bulimia is a killer, and you don’t want your spouse to die because of the said disorder.


With that said, below are some tips on how you can help your partner who is suffering the said disorder.


Use Positive Language About Food.

When you talk about food with your partner who has bulimia, stay on the positive side. Focus the topic on its benefits and how delicious food tastes. Never talk about how it could boost weight and the possible health conditions that it can bring if you overeat. Doing so will only arouse guilt in the person which will then intensify the disorder.



Get Professional Help.

If talking to your partner is not enough, then it is imperative to involve professional help. You can start by bringing your spouse to a small group of people with the same condition for talk therapy. Your loved one will then get insights into the disease and how to overcome it. You can also seek the service of a professional psychiatrist. This expert is trained to address the condition.


But first, you have to understand that this mental health issue is not deliberate on your loved one’s part. Your loved one is not intentionally causing this to happen. You have to be patient and understanding.

Relapse rates are high, and many are on board that this is because treatment approaches have not been guided by an understanding of the etiology of each specific eating disorder. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Learn More About The Disorder.

The best way you can help your partner is by first educating yourself about the disorder. You can do research, talk to people who experienced the said condition or consult with a professional trained to assist those with bulimia. Being equipped with knowledge of the disorder will make you strong enough to help your partner face the condition head-on.


Shower Your Spouse With Love.

More than anything else, your partner needs you the most right now. She may not say it, but you know she needs you. Being judgmental and getting into the blame game won’t help at all. People with bulimia are dominated by shame, guilt, and insecurities. Instead of infusing more negativity to her, shower your spouse with positivity instead. Show your spouse how you love her. You can also do fun things together. It will not only keep her mind off the disorder, but it will help tighten the relationship bond as well.

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

Start A Meaningful Conversation.

Most people find it hard talking about the disorder, but denying this kind of talk won’t help either. Talking to your loved one openly is a big help in solving some sensitive issues. You should do it with extra precaution, though. Do it with love, kindness, support, and gentleness.


Bulimia is a psychological disorder. It is more on the mind and the person’s emotions. Your presence, your encouragement and your willingness to be by your partner’s side as she goes through the process is the best weapon you have in overcoming the eating disorder.