Home Mental disorders Bulimia nervosa: causes, symptoms and treatment

Bulimia nervosa: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Bulimia nervosa is a disorder that involves two aspects: the alimentary and the psychological. In this disease, the person eats large amounts in the so-called “binges” and then feels bad about it, forcing his body to vomit the food eaten or uses laxatives to eliminate it. With this, the person avoids gaining weight, since he suffers a great fear of gaining weight and modifying his appearance, he has a distorted idea of ​​his body. It can occur in people who are at their ideal weight, underweight, or overweight and obese. The psychological aspect affects the emotions, with which the person can have serious depression problems. In this FastlyHealarticle, we are going to explain what the long-term consequences of bulimia nervosa can be .

Causes of bulimia nervosa

The bulimia nervosa involves people of all races, genders, ages and health status, but is seen most often in young women , especially those living in cities.

It usually begins in adolescence or puberty, in girls with low self-esteem or a tendency to be perfectionists who want to see themselves as a specific person or simply be thinner. Some of these people had overweight problems in childhood or have problems at home that make them change their relationship with food.

Signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa

There are some characteristics that people with bulimia nervosa share , in general, there are some data that can help us identify them:

  • They are always concerned about their figure and their weight.
  • They are afraid of gaining weight.
  • They feel that they cannot control what is happening to them.
  • They eat until they feel pain or disgust.
  • They eat very large amounts of food for what is normal in their environment.
  • They isolate themselves after binge eating, either to induce vomiting or exercise to avoid gaining weight.
  • They use laxatives, diuretics or enemas to lose weight.
  • They count the calories in what they are going to eat and generally try to avoid them.
  • They take supplements, medications, or home remedies to lose weight.

Bulimia: consequences in the body

Some of the consequences of bulimia nervosa can be seen in the short term and others in the longer term, they depend in part on the time that the pathology has been established and the degree of bulimia nervosa, some of the consequences that can be observed are:

  • Dental erosion: teeth are damaged by being constantly exposed to hydrochloric acid from the stomach in vomiting,
  • Hand injuries from using fingers to induce vomiting.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: people with bulimia nervosa do not have good absorption of nutrients because they do not allow food to pass into their intestines or they expel it before the intestine can absorb the nutrients, this deficiency can be observed in changes in the skin, the hair, weakness, anemia , paleness, lack of concentration, among others.
  • Menstrual irregularities or infertility, may be due to anemia or malnutrition, the body tries to retain as much nutrients as possible and avoids menstruation.
  • Low bone density due to lack of calcium and vitamins.
  • Dehydration from excessive vomiting.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias due to general failure in circulation and anemia.
  • Kidney disorders such as stones and kidney failure due to all of the above.
  • Aspiration: passage of stomach contents into lungs during vomiting, this can cause death.
  • Esophageal or gastric rupture: This occurs when too much pressure is put on the esophagus – which is the tube that connects the mouth with the stomach – or on the stomach itself. When you make a lot of effort to vomit, a lot of pressure is placed on these organs and they can rupture, this is very serious and requires emergency surgery.
  • Increase in the frequency of dental cavities due to the damage that the teeth have.
  • Frequent fainting or dizziness from dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Headaches or migraine.

Treatment of bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa must always be approached from the psychological, medical and nutritional aspect , it is almost impossible to achieve a complete cure if any of these aspects are left aside.

People with bulimia nervosa require psychological treatment such as psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy in the family or in a group. Sometimes, the origin of bulimia nervosa falls on a family problem and when solving it, it becomes easier to work on bulimia nervosa.

The medical part sometimes involves prescribing antidepressant and antipsychotic medications , this is to help the person re-identify what is normal, how much is appropriate to eat and what is the healthy physical appearance that they should achieve, although the decision of whether to start a drug, which one and the doses should be taken by the doctor and the patient.

The nutritional part involves starting a healthy diet again , including all kinds of food in healthy amounts. It is ideal that the diet is carried out by a nutritionist or nutritionist, so that you can gradually incorporate foods that provide the correct amounts of the nutrients that have been most affected during the time you have suffered from bulimia nervosa.

The time of initiation of therapy is essential in the treatment of bulimia nervosa, the sooner the disease is addressed, the better the prognosis, although this is not easy, since the person usually hides the disease for as long as possible.

Prognosis and risks of bulimia nervosa

Now that we know what the long-term consequences of bulimia nervosa can be, let’s see what the prognosis of this disease is. The prognosis of bulimia nervosa is very varied, it has been observed that up to 50% of patients improve , there are some who manage to fully control the disease, while others only manage to lead it to be somewhat episodic or fluctuating, having periods of bulimia nervous when they have a lot of stress or personal problems and then suspending it indefinitely.

It is extremely important to strictly adhere to psychological treatment, bulimia nervosa can go hand in hand with severe depression and anxiety, if these problems are not treated, the person can become addicted to anxiolytic or antidepressant medications or even have suicidal ideas and lead them finished. The support of the family and the social group is of great importance and can be a factor that drastically improves the prognosis.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Long-term consequences of bulimia nervosa , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental disorders .

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