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Bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder more commonly known as bulimia, is a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by intentionally doing one or more of the following in order to compensate for the intake of the food and prevent weight gain.

early symptoms of bulimia may include:
  • vomiting
  • inappropriate use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics or other medication
  • excessive exercising
  • fasting

A person is classified as bulimic when he or she feels incapable of controlling the urge to binge, even during the binge itself, when he or she consumes a larger amount of food than a person would normally consume at one sitting, and when such behavior occurs at least twice per week for three months.

Bulimia is a pathology that involves body image and the desperate desire to appear thin. The majority of bulimic patients are young females from 10 to 25 years old, although the disorder can occur in people of all ages and both sexes.

Bulimia is often less about food, and more to do with deep psychological issues and profound feelings of lack of control. Binge/purge episodes can be severe, sometimes involving rapid and out of control feeding that stops when the sufferers "are interrupted by another person...or [when] their stomach hurts from over extension...This cycle may be repeated several times a week or, in serious cases, several times a day." Sufferers can often "see the destructive eating pattern as a way of gaining control over their lives"

Some anorectics may demonstrate bulimic behaviours in their illness: binge-eating and purging themselves of food on a regular or infrequent basis at certain times during the course of their disease. Alternatively, some individuals might switch from having anorexia to having bulimia. The mortality rate for anorectics who practice bulimic behaviors is twice that of anorectics who do not.

The frequency of bulimic cycles will vary from person to person. Some will suffer from an episode every few months while others who are more severely ill may binge and purge several times a day. Some people may vomit automatically after they have eaten any food. Others will eat socially but may be bulimic in private. Many people do not regard their illness as a problem, while others despise and fear the vicious and uncontrollable cycle they are in.

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