Bulimia – a dangerous contradiction

Bulimia nervosa is a disorder of eating behavior that spreads to an epidemic scale. While the incidence of anorexia, being high enough – about 20 cases per 100,000 people, that of bulimia even exceeds it – an average of nearly 36 people per 100,000.

The average age for the onset of this disease is 15-30 years old, with only about 10-15% among the infected, and the remaining patients are women. For bulimia, as well as all other eating disorders in general is characteristic that occur more often in women, especially during puberty and youth age in higher social strata of developed countries.

As usual, misfortune does not come alone – nearly 80% of people suffering from eating disorders are also affected by other psychiatric illnesses – affective, personality and, most of all, alarming. It is believed that in over 90% of cases they precede the development of the eating disorder.

Against all this, it is still believed that half of the patients do not reach the health system at all.

Outbreaks of the disease

Its main manifestation is bulimic syndrome – attacks of irresistible urge to food, followed by extreme compensatory measures – this happens regularly 1-3 or more times a day.

Usually seizures of overwhelming drive to food lead to the mechanical and rapid ingestion of large quantities of high-calorie food – otherwise avoided and forbidden – and are accompanied by the inability to control the diet.

The beginning of such an episode is marked by a relief of tension and anxiety, but they quickly yield to another experience – that of self-destruction, guilt, guilt and fear of oblivion.

In order to overcome the consequences of overeating, the patients take as a natural extension the manifestation of extreme compensatory measures – most often they themselves cause vomiting or abuse of laxatives and diuretics. Other ways are extreme physical exertion and prolonged fasting.

With time between overeating and cleansing behavior, a self-sustaining and escalating vicious circle arises, turning the sick cycle into overeating, an inevitable and inevitable inner need, indifferent to the will, the efforts to avoid it, and its attempts at opposing.

In periods between overeating, eating is often irregular in frequency, quantity and type, with the predominance of dry, unusual and extremely low-calorie foods, often with complete starvation for 24 hours or more.

Patients suffering from the disease experience the bulimic episode as something dangerous, undesirable and alien, totally opposed to their psychological adjustment and conscious aspirations. They appreciate their behavior as shameful, humiliating, animal, trying in any way to conceal it, and in most cases manage to keep it secret for years, even from their relatives.

What are the consequences?

Bulimic episodes with time leave their fingerprints on the sick.

Stomach juice contains hydrochloric acid, which should normally not fall into the esophagus and mouth. Frequent vomiting leads to interference with the last of the acid, such as hydrochloric acid can lead to erosion of the enamel of teeth , gingivitis and throat and esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus).

Hydrochloric acid can cause inflammation of the salivary glands, which gives a puffy look to the face. Increased vomiting also leads to increased pressure, which can lead to rupture – breaking  of blood vessels and vomiting of blood. Such a fate may also occur to the eyes.

Vomiting, as well as diarrhea or severe dehydration associated with the use of laxatives and diuretics, leads to dehydration and disturbance in the balance of the ions in the blood. This balance depends on the course of nerve impulses and muscle cell abbreviation. There may be palpitations , arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and dehydration is also responsible for extreme tiredness and dizziness. Broken eating and digestion deprive the body of important trace elements, which can cause changes in the skin, nails, hair, and anemia.

In extreme cases severe electrolyte imbalance is able to lead to death.