Health Zone

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Eating disorders involve significant psychological distress, as well as being associated with serious physical health complications. One of the three major forms of eating disorders is Bulimia Nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is characterised by eating large amounts of food in a short time period, followed often by purging behaviours.

Signs & symptoms

 

This eating disorder is characterised by binge eating. Specifically it refers to both of the following points:

  • Eating in a certain period of time (such as within a 2 hour period) a quantity of food that is larger than what most other people would eat in similar circumstances.
  • There is a feeling of having a lack of control over eating during the binging (e.g., sense that they cannot stop eating or have control over what or how much is being consumed).
  • There is also the pursuit of behaviours to prevent weight gain such as causing themselves to vomit, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, fasting or excessive exercise.
  • The binges and behaviours to prevent weight gain occur at least once a week for 3 months. Body shape and weight also overly influence self-evaluation.

 

Prevalence

Approximately one in 20 Australians has an eating disorder. It affects more females than males, although this difference is less in binge eating disorder. Unfortunately less is known about eating disorders among males.

 

Main treatments

The primary approach is psychological, the person centred approach that is tailored to the individual is suggested as an effective model for specific treatment to be tailored. This treatment focuses on recovery and looks at the illness in a wide context (e.g., physical and psychological). It involves the person with the eating disorder in all treatment decisions.