Bulimia: Signs and Symptoms, Treatment

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that can have very harmful consequences. If bulimia affects you, we want you to know that help is available. You do not have to continue living as you have been with food dictating your every waking moment. Banbury Lodge specialises in the treatment of eating disorders, and our friendly and helpful staff can help you take back control of your life once more.

What Is Bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa is a mental health problem that can affect your relationship with food and can lead to unhealthy eating habits. It causes those affected to cycle through periods of eating large quantities of food in a short amount of time (known as bingeing), followed by periods where they will make themselves vomit, take laxatives, or exercise excessively (known as purging).

There are misconceptions about what a food binge actually is, and the term is often used loosely to describe overindulging in food from time to time. Some people will say they binged on chocolate or other foods when they feel they have eaten more than they normally would, but this is not what a food binge is.

Those who suffer from bulimia will have no control over the amount of food they consume during a binge. Many say that when they are bingeing on food, they feel a disconnect and do not realise how much they have eaten until feeling physically sick or vomiting.

A food binge can be a distressing time and afterwards, the individual may feel disgusted with themselves and desperate to rid the excess calories they have consumed.

Bulimia can interfere with your ability to live a normal life. You may become obsessed with food to the point that you are unable to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones. Desperation to keep your weight at a certain level will dominate your thinking and you might begin isolating yourself from others in a bid to keep your condition a secret.

Do I Have Bulimia?

People with bulimia often manage to hide their condition from their loved ones for a long time. The fact that their weight is stable means that others often do not realise there is a problem. However, there are other signs that all is not well.

If you are concerned that you may have bulimia and if your eating habits are beginning to have a negative impact on your everyday life, it is a good idea to speak to someone. You may have reached a stage where your loved ones are growing increasingly concerned about your behaviour. They may have already confronted you to ask if everything is okay. It is very likely that you have tried to act as if all is fine but deep down, you will be aware that things are not quite right.

If you do have bulimia, you will need to seek out help. This is a condition that will not go away by itself; it is a serious mental health problem that is likely to get worse without treatment. Nevertheless, it is natural that you may want to be sure before you reach out; if this is the case, we urge you to think about your eating habits and behaviours for an indication of what you are dealing with.

If you can identify with a few or more of the following signs, it is important to consider treatment:

  • Do you regularly eat copious quantities of food over a short period?
  • Do you feel as though you have no control when you are bingeing?
  • Do you feel guilty or ashamed after bingeing?
  • Do you try to rid calories by making yourself vomit or taking laxatives?
  • Do you believe that you are overweight?
  • Do you hate your body?
  • Are you fearful of putting on weight?
  • Do you exercise excessively in order to lose or maintain weight?
  • Do you binge on food to make you feel better or happier?
  • Do you spend most of your time thinking about food?
  • Do you starve yourself between binges?
  • Do you eat food that you believe to be bad for you when you are bingeing?

How Will Bulimia Affect Me?

Bulimia can have severe implications for your mental and physical health. You are likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, which will only worsen the longer your condition continues. You might be afraid that your family members and friends will find out about your secret, which can leave you feeling tense and stressed.

You may also be struggling with loneliness and hopelessness as you try to hide your condition from others. If you are feeling tense and anxious around meal times, it could lead to you isolating yourself from others. You may feel tempted to lie to family members about your eating habits.

As your illness progresses, you will suffer from physical health problems too. You may already be experiencing some of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pains
  • Bumps on the backs of your hands and fingers from making yourself sick
  • Menstrual problems
  • Bad skin due to dehydration
  • Tooth decay from vomiting
  • Loss of interest in people and activities
  • Electrolyte imbalance, which could lead to heart attacks and strokes
  • Kidney damage.

Can I Overcome Bulimia?

The first and most crucial step to overcoming bulimia is reaching out. This could be a difficult step as you may believe that everything is fine. You might be fearful of being made to eat or that you will put on weight, but overcoming your condition is about learning how to develop healthy eating habits. It is not about forcing you to eat and gain weight.

It is important that you are aware that your condition is a serious one. Bulimia can lead to mental and physical harm and needs to be treated as soon as possible. The good news though is that with the right help and support, you can go on to live a healthy and happy life by putting your illness behind you for good.

Beating eating disorders such as Bulimia can take time and patience, but provided you are willing to work at a programme of recovery, you can look forward to a life where food does not dominate. At Banbury Lodge, we have a team of experts who specialise in the treatment of eating disorders.

We will work with you to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your requirements. Your plan will include various treatments to help you identify the negative thought patterns and processes that have led you to this point in your life. We will make sure that you are supported throughout your programme and that any other mental health problems you may have, such as depression or anxiety, are also addressed.

As well as therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy that will help you to develop new positive thought processes, we also include a range of holistic therapies in our programmes. Treatments such as sound therapy, mindfulness and art therapy can provide a non-verbal outlet that will help you communicate your emotions and feelings.

Can You Help Me Avoid a Relapse?

It is understandable that you may be worried that treatment will only be a temporary fix for your problem. At this stage, it is probably hard for you to visualise a life where you are not consumed by your need to binge and purge.

Nevertheless, with the right treatment, you can learn how to make positive long-term changes to your life and how you view food. We will provide you with the skills that you can take with you into everyday life to avoid a return to these maladaptive behaviours.

As part of your programme of care, you will learn about the importance of nutrition and how you can implement a healthy diet and exercise programme.

We will provide aftercare support for you when you leave the clinic and will provide information on self-help treatments that you can use to ensure you avoid a relapse. We can also put you in touch with various support groups within your local community, where you can get involved with others who are also recovering from eating disorders such as bulimia.

For more information on how Banbury Lodge can help you to overcome bulimia, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. Our friendly advisors are ready to take your call and can provide the information you need to take the next steps on the road to recovery.

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Call Now 0203 553 0618

Call Now 0203 553 0618

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  • CO9 2DR
  • United Kingdom

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