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Battling with bulimia

Posted by Be Well

An eating disorder like bulimia can affect anyone of any age and sex

What is bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder, which is characterized by binging and purging.

Bingeing is when you eat large amounts of food in a small space of time, often in secret.

There is no definitive reason for what causes an eating disorder like bulimia

Afterwards, you may feel guilty about the binging and this can inspire you to purge. This is usually achieved by deliberately making yourself sick.

What causes bulimia?

There is no definitive reason for what causes an eating disorder like bulimia. It's thought that a variety of reasons may trigger bulimia in a person. For example:

  • Having low self-esteem. You may have a particularly low opinion of yourself. Losing weight or constantly trying to control your weight can often be seen as a way of gaining self-worth.
  • Being depressed. You may use binging as a way of coping with your depression or stress. However, purging doesn't relieve the depression, and the cycle continues.
  • Emotional stress. Bulimia can sometimes occur following stressful situations or life events. For example, it is possible for you to develop the condition after dealing with a traumatic experience, such as a death or divorce.
  • Having experienced physical illness or sexual abuse. Bulimia can occur in people who have experienced physical illness or sexual abuse. Some people with bulimia have experienced difficult childhoods, with family problems, arguments, and criticism.
  • If you have a mental health problem. Research has shown that bulimia is more common in people with some other psychological problem, such as an anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Have an unhealthy body image. Bulimia can be caused by cultural and social pressures. Some people believe that the media and fashion creates pressure for people to aspire to low body weights.

Male bulimia

According to research, around 80% of eating disorder cases are girls and young women, aged between 12 and 20.

With this high statistic, it can be easy to forget that boys and men are affected too. In fact, eating disorders can affect anyone of any age and any sex.

One in ten people with bulimia are male. A number of psychologists and eating disorder experts have recently said that they are seeing more men who have the illness.

Lots of people find themselves binging and purging as a way of maintaining control in their lives, when they may feel like they have none.

In the case of John Prescott, the high levels of work stress led him to binge as a way of comforting himself. Afterwards, as he worried about his personal appearance (being a man in the public eye) he purged as a way of controlling his body weight. This cycle can become addictive.

Don't suffer in silence

Anyone who has bulimia can find it hard to admit that they have a problem with food. However, for men it can be especially difficult.

Bingeing and purging can be a way for people to gain control in their lives, if they feel like they don't have any

Many men are afraid to admit that they can't control their eating habits as they see it as a sign of weakness. This can stop them from seeking the help they need.

There are many charities and agencies who are there to support and help anyone who is experiencing bulimia.

Comments (3)
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Bulimia is when you deliberately consume more food than an average person would eat in a normal sitting. I believe professionals even consider it to be over a certain amount of calories per "meal". Do you eat tons of food at a time in a chaotic manner, feeling like you can't eat enough food to satisfy your hunger and cravings? Does the eating feel out of control? If not, then what you are describing when be actually considered Anorexia: Sub-type purging. However, you only qualify for anorexia if you meet everything on the DSM criteria for it, which includes loss of menstrual cycle and a weight below the BMI of 17.5. If you do not qualify for anorexia, then most professionals would diagnose you as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (called "EDNOS"). Basically, anyone that falls into this category does not qualify for either Bulimia or Anorexia. It's quite annoying, really. You could be severely struggling with an eating disorder but be diagnosed with EDNOS, which a lot of professionals do not take as seriously. I have known anorexics who are severely underweight but they still have their menstrual cycle so they are considered "EDNOS", although the clearly appear to be anorexic.

 Anyway, no matter what your diagnosis, purging is extremely alarming and harmful to your health and I would recommend seeking professional help or at least reach out to your family and friends before the purging and eating disordered behaviors transforms into a full-blown illness. Trust me, you do not want to go down this path. I have been trying to recover from my anorexia for 8 years now. :-(

Anytime you force yourself to purge would be considered bulimia. It doesn't matter how many calories you eat. It is extremely harmful to your health so it would be a very good idea to get help now before it takes over your life. Talk to your MD about it!
I never quite understood the difference between bulimia and anorexia. This latter disorder has even inspired a band's name: Anorexia Nervosa. I had no idea that men can also suffer from bulimia and hence they also need bulimia treatment.
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