Bulimia Nervosa is a form of eating disorder which in severe cases can turn into a life-threatening condition. It involves a regular intake of foods in bulk followed by compensatory behaviors such as voluntary vomiting aimed at overpowering the effects of binge eating (Södersten et al., 2006).
Individuals suffering from the bulimia nervosa condition regularly consume large portions of food but are cautious not to gain excessive weight from their eating behavior. As a result, they control their body weight through self-induced vomiting. Moreover, such persons fight a feeling of lack of control during the binge eating episodes and, cannot, therefore, refrain from more consumption (Södersten et al., 2006). On the same note, victims of bulimia nervosa experience low self-esteem challenges with their body image where they feel embarrassed about their physical appearance. Humans need to watch out for these signs since earlier detection is the highway towards a speedy recovery.
Persons suffering from bulimia nervosa start experiencing the short-term impact of the condition shortly after contracting the disorder. Some of the effects are correctable depending on the intensity of the ailment. Moreover, for persons battling other medical or psychological conditions besides bulimia, it is challenging to reverse the short-term impact. However, most of these effects are 100 percent reversible once the victim stops their bulimia and only a few people suffer irreversible damage. The short-term effects include an impairment of the digestive system due to the regular self-induced vomiting (Södersten et al., 2006). The victim experiences bloating, heart burns, stomach pains and aches, bad breath and tastes in the mouth, indigestion and nausea. It becomes painful to swallow due to the frequent vomiting that destroys the throat. The acid released either during or after vomiting could further make the teeth eroded (Södersten et al., 2006).
Bulimics further experience challenges in keeping their concentration and suffer from body fatigue too fast. As a result, it is hard for the victim to successfully engage in activities that demand some levels of mental strains such as reading. Bulimics also experience pains in the back and neck coupled with persistent headaches due to the tensions exerted on the muscles during the self-induced vomiting (Södersten et al., 2006). Cases of colds and flu are common due to the lowered immunity which makes the victims vulnerable to many infections. The possibility of being bulimic causes depression and anxiety besides having dry skin, weak nails, and brittle hair. The knuckles especially become hard and wrinkled due to the vomiting (Södersten et al., 2006).
Bulimia leaves an adverse impact in almost all the body systems following the loss of vital nutrients through the frequent self-induced vomiting. The disorder, for instance, leaves a negative impact on the heart and the circulation process due to the electrolyte imbalances created by the laxatives used in purging the body of the food consumed. Besides heart failure, other severe outcomes of bulimia include seizures, blood pressure, and serious, persistent headaches (Södersten et al., 2006). The bones of a bulimic individual do not receive the adequate nutrients vital for development purposes. As a result, the victim becomes vulnerable to osteoporosis, a bone disease that is irreversible. The acids released from the stomach during vomiting could cause tooth decay and eventual loss (Södersten et al., 2006).
Bulimia causes severe damage to the reproductive system. As a result, women victims stop getting their monthly periods due to the depletion of vital nutrients which leaves the body focusing only on survival. In most instances, it is hard for the woman to regain her menstrual cycle which renders her permanently barren (Sagar, 2005). The emotional challenges experienced by bulimic persons further has a direct impact on the brain such as rendering it incapable of making sound decisions. The psychological trauma can last for extended years which injures the person’s self-esteem (Song et al. 2010). The depression associated with bulimia could lead the victims to nurture and eventually implement suicidal actions. On the same note, victims could end up being physically abusive or engage in acts that harm themselves such as inflicting cuts on their bodies.
The stomach could suffer from irreversible injuries due to the damage caused to the nerve that functions to inform the brain that the stomach is full. Moreover, bulimic people have an increased risk of contracting ulcers besides battling problems of bloating (Södersten et al., 2006). Further, bulimia destroys the kidneys since the loss of vital body nutrients through forced vomiting leads to malnutrition which hinders the organ from performing its responsibility of ridding the body of toxins and other dangerous substances. As a result, harmful poisons do not exit from the body but proceed to build up and bring either kidney infection or total failure (Södersten et al., 2006).
The treatment accorded to bulimia patients depends on the seriousness of their condition. The use of medicines such as antidepressants functions to minimize the binge-purge cycles as well as relieving the patient from depression. Medicines, however, prove more effective when combined with counseling (Chakraborty & Basu, 2010). The counseling process can either be cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). In CBT, the victim learns to embrace positive thinking regarding their weight and general perception of oneself. IPT involves being enlightened on relationships and their impact on binge eating and purging and shunning them.
Chakraborty, K., & Basu, D. (2010). Management of anorexia and bulimia nervosa: An evidence-based review. Indian journal of psychiatry, 52(2), 174.
Sagar, A. (2005). Long-term health risks due to impaired nutrition in women with a past history of bulimia nervosa. Nutrition Noteworthy, 7(1).
Song, M. K., Ha, J. J., Park, D. H., Yoo, S. H., Oh, J. H., & Yoo, J. H. (2010). Effect of body image and eating attitude on depressive mood and suicide ideation in female adolescents. Korean J Psychosom Med, 18(1), 40-7.
Södersten, P., Bergh, C., & Zandian, M. (2006). Understanding eating disorders. Hormones and Behavior, 50(4), 572-578.