Bulimia is also a disorder linked with self esteem, emotional problems and stress. You may constantly think about calories, dieting and ways of getting rid of the food you have eaten. Bulimia is actually more common than anorexia, but is more of a hidden illness, because people with bulimia usually remain an average or just over average body weight. Bulimia can go unnoticed for a long time, although you may feel ill and very unhappy.
If you have bulimia you become involved in a cycle of eating a very large amount of food, making yourself sick, cutting down or starving for a few days or trying to find other ways to make up for the food you have eaten. Starving causes you to become so hungry that you eat large amounts of food because your body is craving nourishment. Some people will not vomit but will take laxatives: both behaviours may be described as ‘purging’ by medical professionals but taking laxatives is particularly dangerous.
Just because bulimia does not cause the extreme weight loss that anorexia does, it does not mean that it is less serious. You need to get help and support. The side effects and consequences of bulimia can be very serious.
“I used to go to the food cupboard, fridge or freezer and eat as much as I could, as quickly as possible, to try to make myself feel happier and fill the hole I felt I had inside. Afterwards I felt physically and emotionally upset and guilty about all the food I had eaten, so I would make myself sick.”
Physical symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
- Sore throat
- Bad breath and mouth infections
- Stomach pains
- (girls) Irregular periods
- Dry or poor skin
- Difficulty sleeping
- Puffy cheeks
- Kidney and bowel problems.
How you think and feel
Psychological symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
- Feeling emotional and depressed
- Feeling out of control
- Mood swings
- Obsessed with dieting
Things you might be doing
Behavioural symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
You might not even realise you are doing some of these things or you might know that you are doing them but can't seem to stop. Help and support with this is available, click here for more information on getting help.
- Eating large quantities of food
- Being sick after meals or binges
- Taking laxatives or diet pills
- Being secretive and lying.
“People thought I was really popular and together, but I knew I wasn’t, I felt like a fake. I thought that people wouldn’t like me it they knew what I was really like.”