- Mental Health»
- Eating Disorders & Mental Health
The Dangers of Bulimia
Also by this Author...
Erosion of Teeth From Vomiting
Stop Before It's TOO LATE.
Wikipedia gives us the following definition for Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder characterized by restraining of food intake for a period of time followed by an over intake or binging period that results in feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. The median age of onset is 18. Sufferers attempt to overcome these feelings in a number of ways. The most common form is defense vomiting, sometimes called purging; fasting, the use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics and over exercising are also common. Bulimia nervosa is nine times more likely to occur in women than men (Barker 2003).
The question to ask is why would someone do this to themselves? Victims of bulimia are usually suffering from one or more of the following: depression, mental anguish, severe emotional stress, social pressure. They may feel as if they have no control over their lives and purging gives them that control. Purging may also alleviate feelings of guilt or uncleanliness, which may be the result of past abuse or feelings of inferiority. In addition to bulimia being about control, it is also about body image. The pressure to be thin and young in today's society is overwhelming. To some, gaining weight is akin to failure and food becomes the enemy.
My research on this topic revealed that many women who are constantly pressured to be perfect or who feel oppressed develop eating disorders due to depression, guilt, frustration, and control issues. After all, today's woman must be independent, an excellent mother, a loving wife, sexy, thin, professionally successful, and the list goes on and on...Even in our modern society, the traditional roles of male and female still exist on a grand scale. Oh, and let's not forget the double standards: 'if a man gains weight, he is cute, but a woman is fat and has let herself go' or better yet, 'grey hair on a man is distinguished, even sexy, but on a woman, it's just plain old.' No wonder so many girls are battling with eating disorders!
The first step towards healing is realizing and admitting that you have a serious problem. If your life is not how you want it to be, then try to change it for the better. It takes a lot of courage to make the necessary changes. A person cannot live a lie because it is impossible to do so and be happy at the same time. Of course, such a tremendous upheaval in one's life is not easy. Support can usually be found in family and friends, but if not, there are counselors and support groups.The internet provides valuable information and helpful links (see below). Remember, no effort is too small when you love yourself. And when you love yourself, you are naturally inclined to take care of your body.
Here is some food for thought: I have visited third world countries in my travels (today they are known as "developing countries"), and I have seen much poverty and misery. I've also seen plenty of disease and sickness. It's sad, but sometimes people need a harsh dose of reality to realize how lucky they really are. I feel very fortunate to have been born with a healthy body in a country where food is so readily available. Keeping this attitude of gratitude may help keep you centered in your thoughts and feelings. Life is short, the universe is vast, and in the scheme of things, what society and others think does not matter.
If you or someone you love is suffering from Bulimia, please be aware that this condition may cause several health problems, including death. I have cut and pasted the following from www.healthtree.com:
Vomiting Dangers in Bulimia Nervosa
Self-induced vomiting is a common purging technique used after binge eating. Frequent vomiting can result in metabolic alkalosis , an imbalance in the body's acid/base balance. The effects of metabolic alkalosis range from slowed breathing (including instances of apnea, the cessation of breathing during sleep) to irritability to irregular heartbeat to convulsions and coma.
Frequent vomiting also increases the likelihood of lung aspiration, which can cause damage to lung tissue. Aspirated vomit may cause pneumonia, shock and respiratory distress.More noticeable are the effects repeated vomiting has on the teeth. Stomach acid gradually erodes dental enamel, discoloring teeth and causing unusual numbers of dental cavities. As dental enamel continues to erode, teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids.
http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/ (for those suffering from eating disorders)
http://www.edap.org/ (national eating disorders association)
I sincerely hope that this hub has been helpful. As always, thank you for reading.
C. De Melo
Author & Artist