Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves incidences of overeating (bingeing) and subsequent purging through self-induced vomiting and the use of laxatives and diuretics. Other purging behaviors may include fasting and vigorous exercise, prompting comparisons to anorexia nervosa. While some behaviors and thought processes may be consistent among both bulimia and anorexia, such as an obsession with body image and shape, the psychology of the sufferers is markedly different. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), anorexic individuals hold themselves in high esteem for their food deprivation practices; bulimic individuals carry out their behaviors under the weight of extreme shame and guilt.

Nine out of 10 individuals suffering from bulimia are women.
– The NCBI

Bulimia Nervosa: What You Need to Know

To be classified as bulimic according to the DSM-5, an individual would experience bingeing and purging episodes at least once a week for three months. Some studies suggest that genetic factors have an influence up to 83% for the development of bulimia, though the heritable traits are general, such as impulsivity, and not specific to bulimia itself. Research also shows that environmental factors can play a strong role in bulimia’s development.

According to the NCBI, the following have been found to influence the emergence of this disorder:

  • Obesity or family obesity
  • Mood disorders
  • Sexual or physical abuse in one’s history
  • Substance misuse
  • Dysfunctional family dynamics
  • Early menarche

Bulimia is more common than anorexia, presenting in 1% of young women compared to anorexia’s 0.3%. Nine out of 10 individuals suffering from bulimia are women. As with anorexia, bulimia recovery takes place over years, not months, though intensive treatment can be instrumental in fostering the initial change and recovery process. 

Girl suffering with headache

Talk to Us About Bulimia Treatment

At The Meadows Ranch, we’re dedicated to equipping individuals and their families with the resources needed to heal from bulimia. With our wealth of expertise, we address bulimia and any co-occurring conditions in the same setting for the best possible chance of long-term recovery. Our focus is on treating the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved is suffering from bulimia, get in touch with us today. Our compassionate staff is standing by to answer your questions and help you begin the journey to recovery.

Call 866-390-5100