Bulimia or Bulimia Nervosa is one type of serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Bulimics have a habit of maintaining weight by not eating at all or eating small amounts, then eating in large quantities, then removing the food from the body by force by vomiting or using laxatives. This unhealthy way is done by the bulimia to eliminate the excess calories that have been consumed in order to gain weight and body shape. This mental disorder may be related to extreme low self-esteem, alcoholism, depression, and self-injurious tendencies.
Like other eating disorders, bulimia is more common in women. Based on the results of the study, there are about 8 out of 100 women who suffer from this disorder. Mostly experienced by women aged 16-40 years. The average of these disorders begin to appear at the age between 18-19 years.
Symptoms of Bulimia
The main indication that a person is bulimics is the habit of strict dieting with no food at all or just eating certain types of foods (eg, calorie foods, fatty) in very small amounts, until at some point the patient loses control and eats previously avoided foods is excessive, although he did not feel hungry. This habit can arise because of the influence of emotional problems, such as stress or depression.
The sufferer then feels guilty, sorry, and self-hating that will force his body to remove all the intake of calories that have been entered in an unnatural way, such as by using laxatives or forcing yourself to vomit. Someone is said to have bulimia if this cycle is more than twice a week for at least three months.
In addition to these unhealthy ways, there are several other symptoms that indicate bulimia. Among others are:
- Fear of being fat or feeling overweight.
- Very fixed on body weight and body shape, sometimes it does not make sense.
- Always think negatively of his own body shape.
- Often out of control while eating, for example continue to eat until stomach pain or eat with excessive portions.
- Reluctant to eat in public places or in front of others.
- Often rushed to the bathroom after eating.
- Forcing yourself to vomit, especially by inserting a finger into the esophagus.
- Has damaged teeth and gums.
- Excessive exercise.
- Use laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after meals.
- Use supplements or herbal products to lose weight.
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Causes and Factors of Bulimia Trigger
The main cause of bulimia is not known for certain, but there are many factors that can increase a person's risk for this disorder. These trigger factors include:
- Gender . Bulimia is more commonly experienced by women than men.
- Psychological problems. Psychological disorders such as feeling inferiority, depression , stress, perfectionism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as obsessive disorders ( OCD ).
- Age . Bulimia generally affects teenagers to adults and the average begins to develop at the age of 18-19 years.
- Hereditary factors . If you have a nuclear family member (siblings or parents) with bulimia, you have a higher risk of having the same disorder.
- Social demands . For example, teenagers often feel the need to lose weight because of the influence of friends, the environment, and the mass media.
- Professional demands . For example, the model should keep food in order to stay slim or athletes who have to keep their weight tight.
At the initial examination, the doctor will ask for symptoms that are experienced such as treatment on other diseases. If a person's condition is included in criteria that indicate bulimia, the doctor will then recommend a thorough physical examination, blood test, urine test, and psychological evaluation.
The main criteria that indicate bulimia is an excessive eating cycle accompanied by the effort to remove calories from the body, as well as negative assumptions about body shape and weight.
The hardest and most important part of handling bulimia is to make a person with the disease aware of the disorder. Awareness is very necessary for people have a desire to recover and willing to undergo treatment.
The main treatment for bulimia is psychological therapy. Through therapy, patients will be helped to re-establish positive attitudes and thoughts about diet. This process will also help to detect the emotional problems behind bulimia.
There are two types of therapy that can be undertaken, namely cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy. Through CBT, patients will be helped to identify bulimia triggers, such as negative opinions and behaviors, and then learn to replace them with positive and healthy thinking.
While interpersonal therapy will help patients to detect problems in dealing with others, while improving the ability to communicate and solve problems.
To reduce symptoms, the use of selective serotonin-releasing inhibitors (SSRIs) is also sometimes combined with therapy. Fluoxetine is the most commonly used SSRI in treating bulimia.
The doctor will monitor the patient's condition and reaction of the drug on a regular basis during the use of antidepressants. It is well known that this drug is not suitable for use by people under 18 years of age, epilepsy patients, have a family with a history of heart disease, liver, or kidney.
If you have bulimia and have serious complications, you should be hospitalized. This step is taken to prevent the fatal consequences of complications while handling the urge to self-harm or even suicide.
To recover from bulimia, people with this disease should be able to change the diet, change the mindset about eating, and increase weight slowly. The longer a person develops bulimia, the more difficult it is to cure it. Therefore, better handling is done as soon as possible.
Step handling of bulimia generally takes time and energy is not small. Full support from friends and family also plays an important role in curing people with bulimia. Therefore, people and families are encouraged to be patient in living it.
As mentioned before, bulimia can trigger serious complications and even be fatal if not treated promptly.
The habit of vomiting too often will damage the teeth (due to stomach acid) and trigger swelling of the salivary glands. This condition can also cause sore throat and bad breath.
Lack of nutrition also includes serious complications due to bulimia. These complications can trigger dehydration, difficult to get pregnant due to irregular menstrual cycles, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, kidney failure, and heart failure.
Uncontrolled use of laxatives can also have serious consequences, such as causing damage to the digestive organs and disrupting the balance of the body's natural compounds. This imbalance has the potential to trigger fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeat, and seizures .
Understanding bulimia signs and handling them quickly can prevent bulimia from progressing to the next stage. If you find bulimia symptoms in your children, you can approach them slowly.
The first approach is to motivate them to always live healthy. Avoid comments relating to physical and psychological affect them. For example, calling his body too thin, too fat, or his face is not beautiful, his hair is not straight, and so forth.
The second way is to stop giving your child a gift or punishment with food. Teach your child to keep the body well and be a good example for them in maintaining their diet and also adopting a healthy lifestyle.