Bulimia is an eating disorder that primarily affects teenagers and young women. Binge eating corresponds to eating large amounts of food over short periods of time. Bulimia as a disease is manifested by crises associated with guilt leading to self-induced vomiting, the taking of laxatives or prolonged fasting. The person is aware of his disorder and suffers from it. Additionally, bulimia is frequently associated with a disorder of body image and self-confidence. Bulimia is more common than anorexia, and is often secondary to a traumatic event. The management of bulimia is both medical and psychological.
The diagnosis of bulimia is essentially established upon the revelations confessed by the patient, who is usually a woman. A relatively good state of health is also generally necessary to eliminate the possibility of an organic pathology. An initial psychological evaluation to assess pain is preferable for further support.
If bulimia is identified, the doctor will try to determine the intensity of the disease by learning about the frequency and duration of attacks but also the amount of food eaten during each of these crises.
Bulimia is characterized by:
- binge eating;
- a craving, a sudden and uncontrollable urge to eat;
- eating foods that are generally high in calories, and are absorbed at high speed without any feeling of pleasure;
- crises are followed by feelings of guilt;
- attacks by vomiting, taking laxatives or even exaggerated physical effort.
Other addictive substances or other intense sports are common, as well as depressive or anxious symptoms, or even personality disorders.
To treat bulimia there are several approaches. The behavioral approach consists of individual and group psychotherapy to help the patient control binge eating and overcome the disease. A common approach is to prescribe medication such as anxiolytics or antidepressants. The nutritional approach is, in turn, to teach the patient the basis of a balanced diet. The treatment of bulimia depends largely on the patient's condition, his support system and willingness to heal.