July, 20 2018

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Bulimia - All You Need To Know

The images are everywhere - on TV, in magazines, even on buses. And it's evident that it is causing terrible harm. Some of those suffering from the monster we call bulimia admit they feel the pressure to conform to the images Hollywood and the media are constantly selling.

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa is a repetitive cycle of out-of-control eating followed by some form of purging. According to experts, bulimia — like other eating disorders — has biological, psychological, and sociologcal components that make it especially complicated to treat. Compulsive overeating, also called binge eating, is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating followed by periods of guilt and depression.

Bulimia Statistics

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), as many as 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States are struggling with anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are dealing with compulsive overeating. NEDA also reported more than 50% of female teenagers and nearly 33% of male teenagers use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, taking laxatives, and using prescription medicines whose side effects include suppressing appetite.

For females bulimia tends to occur at age 16 or 17. Males are more likely to acquire these disorders at a slightly older age. However, onset of these diseases can occur at any age.

Two-thirds of those who do not to get treatment for their eating disorders do not fully recover. (Half of those that do not recover stay ill through their entire lives, while the others either recover and relapse or stop some, but not all, of their eating disordered behaviors.)

Bulimia & Genetics

Scientific research is beginning to show that eating disorders have a genetic component. There are ongoing studies investigating a link with biochemical processes in the brain that may also predispose certain individuals to develop eating disorders.Genetics may load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.’

Stressors such as academic and athletic competitiveness and the need for social acceptance can also trigger eating disorders. Athletes in sports such as wrestling, gymnastics, figure skating, track and field, swimming, and diving appear to be more vulnerable to eating disorders than those in other sports. It may be because these sports often emphasize weight, appearance, endurance, or all three.

Sufferers need professional help. That person can get the ball rolling. Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses and not to be taken lightly.

Diagnosing & Treating Bulimia

Drexel University’s Dr. Barbara Steinberg said dentists are often the first to detect health problems in other parts of the body, like Bulimia.

“On the back surfaces of the front teeth we will start to see erosion of the enamel,” Steinberg said. “That’s one of the first tell-tale signs that this person may be bulimic.”

According to Douglas Bunnell, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist “You do need to get the family involved if you are dealing with a preteen or teenager, You can’t wait until they say they are ready for help. One cannot underestimate the impact these illnesses have.”

Parents are poised to help their children overcome bulimia nervosa according to Daniel le Grange of the University of Chicago and Dr. James Lock of Stanford University, authors of "Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder."

"We see parents as a valuable resource in the treatment of these adolescents. Our goal is to empower parents to feed their kids. Feeding kids is something they do well" said le Grange.

Often parents seek help for troubled teens with bulimia or anorexia through counseling, residential treatment programs, day treatment programs or a combination of all three. There is no one cause for bulimia, and no one correct treatment approach, parents need to find a care provider that will help address whatever issues it may by that their teen is dealing with.

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