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What is Bulimia?

Bulimia is a psychological eating disorder.

The most common way of experiencing bulimia is having episodes of binge eating (consuming a large quantity of food in one sitting) where you have no sense of control over your eating.

Afterwards, you try inappropriate ways to lose weight such as:

  • Vomiting

  • Fasting

  • Enemas

  • Excessive use of laxatives and diuretics

  • Compulsive exercising

Bulimia Statistics

  • Approximately 1.5% of the US female population and 0.5% of the male population have experienced bulimia in their lifetimes

    • These percentages add up to 4.7 million females and 1.5 million males

  • Bisexual and gay men are at greatest risk of experiencing bulimia compared to men who idemtofy as heterosexual

  • Suicide is the number 1 leading cause of death among people who struggle with bulimia

  • Relapse occurs in 30%-50% of cases

Causes and Risk Factors

No one knows the exact cause of bulimia. However, research suggests that a mix of your personality traits, emotions and thinking patterns, as well as biological and environmental factors (such as genetics and others’ opinions) might be responsible.

Other risk factors include:

  • Being female

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Substance use disorders

  • Stress

Symptoms of Bulimia

  1. Scared of gaining weight

  2. Forcing yourself to vomit/exercise too much to prevent gaining weight after binge-eating

  3. Using laxatives, diuretics or enemas after eating unnecessarily

  4. Fasting, restricting calories and avoiding certain foods between binges

  5. Repeated episodes of eating unusually large amount of food in one go

Common misconceptions:

“You have to be underweight to have an eating disorder”

Anyone can have eating disorders and can come in various shapes and sizes. People who have eating disorders are usually of average weight or may be overweight

“Eating disorders aren’t that dangerous”

All types of eating disorders can do severe damage to one’s mental and physical health. All eating disorders can lead to life-threatening health conditions such as heart disease, kidney damage and stunted growth



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