Embracing Body Image: Helping People Fight Bulimia

woman binge eating

In the US, women are more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than men. According to a report by the Foundation for Research and Education in Eating Disorders (FREED), 20 million women (compared to 10 million men) develop an eating disorder at some point in their life.

Bulimia nervosa is a common type of eating disorder, especially among female adolescents who are afraid to gain weight. This eating disorder refers to periods of binge eating followed by purging through different methods, such as self-induced vomiting, inappropriate use of laxatives, or other ways to prevent weight gain.

Intensive treatment is essential for bulimia patients since it’s a serious mental health issue. If you know someone who suffers from such a disorder, getting the right support helps them recover effectively.

Identifying Who’s Prone to Bulimia

People with bulimia are usually worried about their weight and body shape. They are eager to lose weight even if they have normal weight. To help you identify someone who has bulimia, here are the signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Repeated consumption of a large amount of food
  • Difficulty in controlling themselves when binge eating
  • Forcing oneself to vomit and exercise excessively to prevent gaining weight a binging episode
  • Fasting, avoiding calories or other food between binges
  • Too much usage of dietary supplements for weight loss

Bulimia patients may also withdraw from their friends and usual activities. They are afraid to eat in public or with other people because it could be difficult to purge. These habits result in fluctuations in weight and gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux and constipation.

Poor Body Image Leads to Eating and Binging Habits

woman covering her face

Body dissatisfaction is a major contributor to the development of bulimia. About 40 to 60 percent of elementary school girls start to worry about their weight and body satisfaction when they’re between the ages of six and 12.

Additionally, a report by Psychology Today explains that culture plays a crucial role in body satisfaction, especially among women in the US. Society puts too much pressure on women to fit a certain ideal of beauty. The appearance of flawless, thin females everywhere may make it hard for some women to feel satisfied with their own bodies.

Even men experience the pressure of having a perfect body, as well. Twenty-five percent of people with bulimia are men.

Helping People with Bulimia Improve the Quality of Life

Experiencing bulimia can be challenging for individuals. It can lead to severe health conditions if neglected, including heart attacks, heart palpitations, and arrhythmia. The heart may not be able to handle laxative use or regular vomiting. In some cases, bulimia can be fatal.

If you know someone who experiences bulimia, be it a family member or a friend, give them the support they need to recover. Start by having an open and honest discussion about their condition.

Forcing them to seek professional care can be difficult. Once they’re ready, however, you can help them find the right therapy program that suits their needs.

Bulimia is more than just an eating disorder. Understanding the factors that contribute to its development helps you provide better care and improve the quality of life of patients.