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What are the symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa?

A bulimic sufferer, is an individual who consumes large amounts of food and purges thereafter to lose/maintain their weight and body shape.

  • Being preoccupied (obsessed) with your body shape and weight
  • Eating abnormally large amounts of foods, at a single sitting and then trying to dispose of the food intake in an unhealthy way.  E.g. Purging (vomiting)
  • You have an realistic self image and judge yourself according to your weight, instead of your appearance
  • Feeling as if you cannot control your eating behaviour
  • Overeating until the point of discomfort or pain (often you have binged to the extent that you are unable to walk!)
  • Eating an abundance of food in a single binge episode, usually exceptionally high in calories
  • Forcing yourself to vomit after eating
  • Exercising excessively
  • Misusing laxatives; diuretics or enemas
  • Having a distorted, excessively negative body and self-image
  • Visiting the bathroom after eating or during meals
  • Abnormal bowel functioning
  • Damaged teeth and gums
  • Swollen salivary glands in the facial area (resulting in a puffy appearance)
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sores, scars or calluses on the knuckles or hands
  • Menstrual irregularities or loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Persistent worrying/complaining about being fat

  • A binge is considered eating a larger amount of food than most people would eat under similar situations. E.g. When you have bulimia nervosa, you may devour the entire cake, as opposed to enjoying a slice or two. You may continue foraging until you’re painfully full.  Binges usually occur in private.
  • There are two different categories of bulimia:
    • Purging bulimia – one regularly engages in self-induced vomiting or misuses laxatives/diuretics or enemas to compensate for the binge
    • Non-purging bulimia – you resort to other methods to rid yourself of calories to prevent weight gain. E.g. fasting or over-exercising
The above behaviours often overlap and the attempt to rid oneself of extra calories, is usually referred to as purging – regardless of which method is used.


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