Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by eating excessive amounts of food in a short period (binging) followed by guilt and shame leading to self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or laxative abuse (purging). Unlike anorexia nervosa, many individuals with bulimia nervosa are of normal body weight or are overweight. There are many different of causes leading to the development of bulimia nervosa including biological causes such as genetics, hormones and neurotransmitters, developmental factors such as trauma in childhood, psychological factors such as underlying mental health disorders and sociocultural factors such as peer pressure and body image distortion.
Fashion, runways, magazines and billboards are all saturated by tall, thin, beautiful women with flawless skin and perfect body shapes however the modeling industry is one of the most unhealthy industries worldwide. Eating disorders affect 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States and in a recent poll, 62 percent of models have reported being asked to lose weight or change the shape of their body in order to be hired by a modeling agency and these women were already underweight according to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Additional studies have shown that up to 18 percent of professional models report restrictions and up to 60 percent report bulimic episodes in the previous three months. The fashion industry promotes dieting and thinness as a sign of beauty which has resulted in many young girls going to extreme lengths to lose weight at any cost. The average model weighs 60 pounds less and is five inches taller than the average American woman. Recognizing the signs and symptoms associated with eating disorders, raising awareness, pushing for legislation within the modeling world and using your consumer power to choose which companies you purchase clothing from; can give the general public an upper hand over the fashion industry.
Bulimic behavior refers to engaging in manners associated with bulimia nervosa. Although an individual who practices bulimic behavior may not be officially diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, it is important to understand this disorder in order to be able to recognize signs and symptoms associated with bulimic behavior.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious emotional eating disorder that involves eating excessive amounts of food in a short period (binging) followed by guilt and shame leading to self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or laxative abuse (purging). Many refer to it as the binge and purge eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa is often associated with depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviors such as cutting. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM5), defines bulimia nervosa by the five following criteria:
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder are recognized by psychologists and psychiatrists around the world and can result in severe co-morbidities and even death if left untreated. With the continued social stigma attached to eating disorders and in general, mental health disorders; often times it can be challenging to discern the truth from fiction. New innovations in treatment and new insights on eating disorders are continuously being published however the mainstream media often does not shed light on these important findings. Below are three published articles that had eating disorders professionals talking this week.
Find Out What Really Happens in BED?
How many times has your favorite television program been interrupted by a weight loss commercial? Ads for dieting pills and programs like Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Hydroxycut, and Weight Watchers inundate our lives with promises of weight loss and body satisfaction. Programs like these consume our population with ideals of body images that are unattainable and often unhealthy for most people.
Nutrition Essential Component for Healing
A key component to eating disorder treatment is developing and monitoring a nutrition plan. Nutritional deficiencies are common in people with eating disorders. Lack of nutrients from food restriction and electrolyte imbalances from purging and dehydration are serious complications that can be life-threatening if not remedied. A registered dietitian (RD) is an essential member of the treatment team and is responsible for guiding patients and their families through the weight and nutrition restoration process.
The ratio of female to male eating disorders suggest that women and girls are more affected than men: according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the female to male ratio for anorexia is 10:1; for bulimia, 10:1; and 2:1 for binge eating disorder. Although eating disorders in females and males are clinically similar, it is feared that the true statistics related to males are not fully known due to underreporting of symptoms and stigma.
What is Causing the Growing Epidemic of Disordered Eating
Clinical eating disorders have clear indications and criteria for diagnosis. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and eating disorder not otherwise specified (ED-NOS) are all represented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V (DSM-V) and have strict parameters for diagnosis. Not so easy to spot are those eating habits that, although they may not fit the definition of an eating disorder, have troubling consequences for a person’s physical and emotional health. These eating behaviors fall into a category termed disordered eating, and they are far more prevalent than we may have realized.
What Does Healthy Look Like?
I think it is fair to say that those who struggle with some type of eating disorder have a really hard time with knowing what a healthy lifestyle and diet is. I know this because I once lived a life with anorexia and bulimia for ten years and knew what I was doing to my body was wrong and hurting it, but at moments I didn’t really care. I didn’t know a life without restricting, binging, and purging, so healthy is a word that I never thought I would live nor understand.
The Link Between Disordered Eating and Athletics
Athletes are often glorified for their ability to transform their bodies. However, what cost do these athletes pay? Disordered eating may be one costly and dangerous step these athletes take to achieve their fitness and athletic goals.
The National Eating Disorders Collaboration offers the following definition for disordered eating, “Disordered eating is when a person regularly engages in destructive eating behaviours such as restrictive dieting, compulsive eating or skipping meals. Disordered eating can include behaviours which reflect many but not all of the symptoms of eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).”