Bulimia – An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders which can be quite distressing have been on the rise over the past few years. Lots of write-ups appear in health periodicals every now and then because of the way eating disorders have become more widespread. Shockingly, eating disorders are more pervasive in women than in men.

The problem with eating disorders like bulimia is that the symptoms appear so gradually that they almost go unnoticed during the initial period. It is only when the problem grows to such escalated levels, such as suicidal tendencies, extreme depression and self-harming behavior, that the problem comes out in the open and we think along the lines of medical treatment.

Bulimia is medically understood as a syndrome where the patient experiences frequent spells of overeating while at the same time being overly preoccupied about controlling their body weight. And thus follows the repeated pattern of overeating and then voluntarily vomiting out the whole meal.

This repeated and forced vomiting leads to several other physical complications. Although no precise causes to this problem have been discovered, the numerous other factors which can be held responsible are societal pressure, poignant distress, lack of self-esteem and then obsessively increased desire for self control. The situation becomes grave because bulimia can just be a starting point and may soon develop into anorexia, and this big brother can be quite fatal.

Self realization and acceptance, which are the initial stepping stones towards dealing with this disorder, are in fact the most difficult aspect for most sufferers. Initially, most patients may show strong resistance to psychological therapy, but with some counseling and patience they may become ready for the treatment.

In quite a few cases self-help manuals supplemented with guidance from a therapist can easily tackle this eating disorder. However some cases may ask for more intensive psychotherapy to chase away the triggers that lead to purges. While anti-depressants can reduce the symptoms over a period of time, complete psychological therapy and guidance are needed for a permanent cure, especially because the effect of medication can wear off with time.

Sidharth Thakur