Bulimia nervosa is the most common eating disorder seen among college students. Could you be suffering from bulimia? Bulimia is a complicated disorder, and many people who suffer from it are of a normal, or even slightly larger than normal, body size. This psychological disorder is characterized by an obsession with eating a large amount of food at once, often called binging. A binge is different than normal overeating. For example, during a binge, a person might consume an entire cake instead of just an extra piece. After binging, bulimics feel guilt, shame and anger about their actions. As such, they will purge the food from their systems, often by self-induced vomiting. Bulimics may also use excessive exercising, diuretics, laxatives, or enemas in an attempt to lose the weight from a binging session. But bulimia has a profound effect on the body. The acid from vomit can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and loss of tooth enamel in bulimics. Other, even more serious complications can result from repeat binging and purging like osteoporosis, kidney damage, heart damage, and even death. As with anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia may be prone to excessive worry, depression, or perfectionism. Bulimics tend to have an unhealthy body image, but often appear of fairly normal size, despite the disorder.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012