Those who are living with the effects of bulimia go through episodes of binge eating. But these episodes are followed by forced vomiting or some other form of purging. Like with the other two types of eating disorders, people who have bulimia nervosa experience its effects physically and psychologically.
Differences Between Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
Anorexia and bulimia are probably two of the most commonly known eating disorders. Some may even think of the two as the same disorder or, at least, very similar. One of the reasons people might think this way is the fact that anorexia and bulimia both cause people to be concerned about their weight and appearance.
But there is more than one difference between anorexia and bulimia. For one, those who deal with anorexia nervosa usually do not binge eat. Instead, they eat very small amounts of food. On the other hand, bulimia nervosa causes individuals to overeat. Although these episodes are followed by purging, people who deal with this particular disorder are not always underweight. Anorexia, however, often causes people to lose an excessive amount of weight.
Another difference between anorexia and bulimia is the social behavioral impact. People who are suffering from anorexia nervosa often become isolated from others. They might avoid social interaction as much as possible. Those who deal with bulimia nervosa may become somewhat withdrawn, but not as much as those who suffer from anorexia. But these two eating disorders are similar in a couple of ways. Both affect the menstrual cycles of women who are suffering from these disorders.
Behavioral Aspects of Bulimia Nervosa
The two defining characteristics which help to make a bulimia nervosa diagnosis is binging and purging. Much of these behaviors stem from emotional issues individuals face and are attempting to control. So, they binge eat to the point of discomfort to deal with unwanted emotions. But, soon afterward, experience remorse and guilt for doing so. As a result, they purge to rid the body of the consumed calories.
Emotional Effects of Bulimia Nervosa
Commonly, the development of bulimia stems from emotional issues. And, once established, this eating disorder also leads to the development of emotional issues. Some might deal with depression. They may also feel guilty about their eating patterns. Others may experience anxiety. Bulimia nervosa can also cause people to develop a low amount of esteem for themselves. Overall, it’s thought that these feelings of helplessness are what fuel the binge and purging cycle that those living with bulimia experience. And, can lead to a number of other emotional side effects.
Physical Effects of Bulimia Nervosa
The effects of bulimia also extend to a person’s physical appearance. Because of the vomiting that occurs after periods of binge eating, a person can expect a number of side effects from the acid within vomit. Some of these side effects may include:
- Tooth decay, rot, and loss
- The development of a raspy, hoarse voice
- Reddened eyes caused by burst blood vessels
- Swollen salivary glands and cheeks
- Irritation of the throat
- Sores and pain located inside the mouth
- Acid reflux
- Stomach pain
- Torn esophagus which can cause internal bleeding
- Lowered heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Irregular body temperature
- Heart failure
- Pregnancy issues
Additionally, a frequent characteristic of bulimia nervosa may be using laxatives frequently. This is thought to eliminate food before it’s digested into the body’s system. But, overusing laxatives can lead to a number of physical health effects. These effects may include a dependency on laxatives and requiring their use to pass a bowel movement, dehydration, and kidney failure.
Getting a Diagnosis for Bulimia Nervosa
Usually, a diagnosis for bulimia nervosa is easily given with tests and examination by a physician. Once a diagnosis is made, there is hope for healing and sustained recovery from bulimia nervosa. At The Willow Place for Women, we help individuals identify the causes of their bingeing and purging so these emotions may be pinpointed. And, worked on throughout treatment so that new and healthy lifestyles can be obtained.