Some Surprising And Alarming Statistics About Bulimia



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

Of all the different types of eating disorders that adversely affect people across all age spectrums, especially female teenagers and young adults, bulimia nervosa is one of the most predominant. An individual is said to be suffering from bulimia if he or she has an obsessive compulsion for staying lean and wiry, but at the same time is unable to control bingeing and maintain a disciplined dietary plan. Though bulimia can affect people of both sexes, regardless of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, it is majorly prevalent in young women in the age group of 15-35 years.

Statistically speaking, bulimia nervosa affects 1.5% females and 0.5% females in the US which implies that about 4.7 million women and 1.5 million men are in the throes of this eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa is an idiopathic eating disorder as the exact causative factors behind it are yet to be pinpointed. However, it is believed that bulimia can result from the interplay of temperamental, environmental, and genetic factors.

Startling Statistics about Bulimia Nervosa


Sadly, there is a lot of guilt and shame attached to these behaviors so they tend to be done in private. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

The following are some surprising and alarming statistics about bulimia:-

  • Bulimia, more often than not, stems from starting out with and sticking to a dietary program intended to enable the individual to lose weight and become more self-confident
  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 2%-4.2% females are inconvenienced by the eating disorder at some stage of their life
  • An individual is most likely to be diagnosed with bulimia when he or she is 20 years old
  • Bulimia is most prevalent in individuals aged between 18 and 59 years
  • About 0.6% of the adult populace in North America is affected by bulimia nervosa
  • Women showing symptoms of bulimia are more likely to report for drug abuse compared to females suffering from anorexia nervosa
  • There is a widespread misconception that bulimia causes an individual to lose excess weight. But in reality, some bulimics happen to be obese or overweight while others tend to have a normal weight
  • A professional treatment program to help an individual exercise control over his or her bingeing habit as well as assist in shedding the fixation to stay really thin lasts for a maximum of 6 months. The bulimic is kept under direct supervision in a medically assisted and controlled environment.
  • Approximately 10% of the American population troubled by bulimia are likely to seek treatment
  • About 80% of American women who have undergone treatment for bulimia have been discharged or released from the facility earlier than then they should have been
  • Recent studies and surveys have found that bulimic women are more vulnerable to getting addicted to marijuana, cannabis, heroin, tranquilizers, and alcohol
  • An individual is more likely to respond better to a treatment program or therapy in a care center in comparison to family or home-based treatment
  • Medical insurance schemes offered by insurance companies are very unlikely to offer coverage for bulimia treatment
  • 8% of bulimics show a high preponderance for bingeing without the urge to purge or vomit
  • A typical bulimic may consume over 2,000 calories at one go before having the urge to regurgitate
  • Racial minorities and youngsters in the age group of 8-12 are presently at a high risk of getting diagnosed with bulimia
  • An individual is most likely to develop bulimia nervosa because of a genetic predisposition, to the extent of 50%-80%
  • About 3.9% of bulimics are likely to die as a result of the eating disorder
  • 50% of anorexics have a high probability of developing symptoms of bulimia

Balancing serotonin levels with nutrition is central to managing the range of symptoms that occur along the eating disorders continuum. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP



Bulimia nervosa, despite being a grave eating disorder, is rarely fatalistic, and almost everybody suffering from the psychological condition can expect a full and speedy remission. However, one needs to be committed and extremely patient, as it takes many months or even several years to recover completely from the affliction.