Bulimia Nervosa – Binge-Purge Cycle And How To Stop It

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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.

Physical appearance has been a significant issue in this society where we live in – if you’re not that beautiful, the world can be cruel and unfair. In today’s modern society, this is so very true. And with that, people who are suffering from bulimia are the usual victims of this “slim is beautiful” stigma. If you are not slim, you are not IN. You won’t matter in this world where competition for beauty is given such importance by many.

In an attempt to avoid the feelings of guilt and shame, after consuming loads of food, they will purge it; and it continues as a cycle. This cycle may seem effective to those who want to eat but wants to maintain their weight, but this may also cause long-term damage not only physically, but psychologically that might also be irreparable. This article will discuss the essential facts about bulimia.

What Is Bulimia?

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Bulimia Nervosa, or more commonly known as bulimia, is an eating disorder whose symptoms prominently include binging and purging of food intake. Although not life-threatening at first, it can lead to physical complications if the person is not treated. Bulimia also causes harm to the patient’s mental and emotional state, which reflects on the physical toll it takes on the body. This article aims to educate on the Binge-Purge Cycle of Bulimia and how to stop it.

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

The Binge-Purge Cycle

The binging and purging of food intake is a well-known trait of bulimia patients. To define it, binging is a person’s excessive consumption of food in one sitting while purging is the forceful regurgitation and excretion of the ingested food.

Various factors can prompt this cycle, but the usual precursor is vulnerable mental or emotional states that are triggered by the onset of shame or embarrassment. Signs of this include:

  • Shameful feelings when eating, leading to lying and hiding of eating habits
  • Having an irresistible urge to eat and loss of control while eating
  • Physical pain from excessive eating
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Having a distorted body image
  • A constant need to lose weight

The binging and purging action are linked to each other and are perpetuated by a poor body image and feelings of shame. Prolonged exposure to this cycle can lead to physical harm since the constant binging and purging causes strain and malnourishment to the body. Suffice to say, battling Bulimia is also a mental and psychological affair since its symptoms are deeply dependent on the patient’s state of mind to combat this.

Denying the problem and thereby denying its effects are not uncommon. Patients sometimes lie also about the severity of their condition, further hampering the selection of appropriate treatment options. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

How To Stop It

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Bulimia Nervosa and all eating disorders for that matter is a mental health issue. When combatting mental health issues, one treatment is certain – you need to undergo therapy sessions or counseling, preferably a session wherein your cognitive behavior must be altered.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is recommended for people with bulimia. The therapist will start the first session by educating the person with bulimia all about his or her disorder. After that, the goals to cope and recover will be set, and then, thinking and behavioral skills will also be taught.

This is the best way to stop bulimia, for it will destroy a person’s life if not combatted immediately.