Natassa Pursey MSc (Psy) MBPS
"The purpose of Psychotherapy is to set people free" Rollo May
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by repeated episodes of overeating (binge eating, usually in secret) and by behaviour intended to cause rapid weight loss (including vomiting, fasting, taking laxatives, and or excessive exercising). Binge eating (consuming large quantities of food at a short period of time) is characterized by a feeling of loss of control over eating and is accompanied by feelings of guilt and shame. Foods typically eaten during a binge include biscuits, chocolate, crisps, cereals, toasts with butter, tubs of ice cream. Eating continuous until the urge to eat is gone, tension is reduced, physical fullness is reached, often to the point of pain, or the person is interrupted. The binge-purge cycles can be triggered by hunger or stress, or as a way to cope with emotional distress. As with the other eating disorders, bulimia nervosa can be associated with depression, low self-esteem, and self-harm.
Bulimia can be well concealed from family or friends and can remain undetected for many years. There are however behaviour patterns that can give some clues:
- Disappearing to the bathroom after a meal, running tap water or playing the radio.
- Strange night behaviour, going to the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed, going for unexpected walk or drives during the night.
- Disappearance of large quantities of food
- Finding hidden food wrappers
- Unexplained irritability and mood swings