Bulimia, or ‘oxhunger,’ is an abnormally voracious appetite. The condition is usually referred to as ‘binge-eating.’ This unnatural, constant hunger or eating occurs in normal weight, overweight and underweight people. Many bulimics previously suffered from anorexia. ‘The cases of women outnumber men four to one. Diagnosis of normal weight bulimia is difficult as victims are usually ashamed of their behavior and may try to hide the symptoms.
The most common characteristic of bulimia is induced vomiting after a meal. Frequently other symptoms are also present. Behaviors such as fasting, amphetamine abuse, overuse of laxatives, misuse of diuretic medications, alcoholism or depression may be combined with bulimia.
Bulimia may start with infrequent incidents of fasting followed by binge-eating and intentional vomiting. But then the behavior escalates to a “binge-purge” cycle. Self-induced vomiting produces a sense of euphoria and a sense of control over one’s feelings, especially those of depression and anxiety. Normal cues to eating decline. The typical sit-down meal is replaced by “eating episodes”. Infrequent bulimic events begin to increase over several months until incidents occur many times daily. Bulimic behavior is reinforced by its neurotic consequences–the feelings of self-control, avoidance of weight gain and avoidance of confrontations with others over not eating.
Professional counseling is usually successful in assisting the bulimic. The “binge-purge” eating cycle can be replaced by learning new ways to manage needs and feelings. Take the first step. Consult a local eating disorder clinic, a physician and a nutritionist.