Bulimia The Dangerous Secret
Bulimia is an eating disorder that is easy to keep secret. It’s said, not surprisingly, that bulimia is the most secretive of all eating disorders. Why is that? The bulimic learns to keep the eating disorder a secret and easily hides their disorder from the public and even their family for many years.The actress Jane Fonda, for instance, confesses to suffering frombulimia from age 12 to 35, when she was finally able to recover.
The bulimic eats as does most anyone and maybe even more than normal, however, they then ‘purge’ themselves immediately after eating. The bulimic often rushes off to the bathroom, or they may even wait, 20 – 30 minutes till their alone, to make themselves vomit out what they just ate.
Most of the time, the eating disorder begins when the individual begins to binge and purge as part of a diet to lose weight. Soon, the cycle of binging and purging becomes firmly established, and the bulimic may feel incapable of stopping.
Most people understand that bulimia is characterized by an unhealthy binge and purge cycle. But many people don’t realize that individuals afflicted with bulimia tend to consume many more calories in a smaller amount of time than most people.
For instance, the normal caloric intake for a woman may be somewhere around 2,000 to 3,000 calories in the course of one day. A person suffering frombulimia may consume around 3,400 calories in two hours.
Obviously, this cycle of eating and then purging themselves is dangerous. To begin with, eating such a large amount of food in a relatively short amount of time can greatly upset the body’s digestive system, and purging only further disrupts the digestive organs.
There are also a number of social and financial implications. The individual may isolate themselves from friends and family in order tobinge and purge, and they may spend money each day in order to purchase food for their sessions of binging and purging.
The secretive nature of bulimia can make it particularly difficult to diagnose. Most bulimics develop the first symptoms of the disease during their early teens or 20s. Becausebulimia can be relatively easy to hide, the individuals may not demonstrate overt signs of the disease until reaching their 30s or 40s.
Why is bulimia so hard to diagnose? Unlike most cases of anorexia where anorexics are easy to spot, bulimia is not physically evident, they’re are few, if any, outward signs. Because most bulimics are able to maintain a healthy weight. They may even project a healthy image.
Many bulimics often seem to be healthy, successful “put together” individuals. In fact, many researchers have pointed to the “perfectionism” associated withbulimia. Many bulimics express a need to be “perfect” when it comes to their weight and appearance.
In addition to striving for perfection, some bulimics may also be privy to other types of compulsive behavior. Some doctors report that theirbulimic patients are drawn to compulsive behaviors such as alcohol abuse, substance addiction, and shoplifting.
Clearly, bulimia can affect every part of a person’s life. It is considered a serious health risk that needs to be treated as early as possible to prevent permanent health damage that may be irreversible.