Many people, especially teenage girls and women, may see bulimia as a means of controlling their weight. Sometimes the process of becoming bulimic is a slow one in which a person eats too much in one session, feels uncomfortably full, and purges in order to feel better.
However, that type of practice creates a slippery slope. The person may find themselves purging even after what most people would feel is no more than a normal meal. Alternatively, the bulimic person may engage in an unhealthy cycle of binging and purging, eating huge quantities of food in a single session and then vomiting. Bulimics may have low self-esteem and a low feeling of self worth.
They may use food as a means of control when they otherwise feel out of control in their lives. Bulimics do not generally realize what they are doing. They do not understand the consequences of their actions. When confronted by others, bulimics will often deny that they suffer from this disorder.
They are reluctant to seek medical help or even to acknowledge that they have a problem because such an admission would aggravate their anxiety and their depression. Bulimia takes a terrible toll on the physical health of the bulimic.
The constant binging and purging harms their digestive system as well as their teeth. In addition to these physical issues, bulimia presents psychological aspects as well. Binging and purging is not a system of dietary control that most people would find to be acceptable.
The fact that bulimics engage in this behavior is a psychological issue. Bulimics often use food to fill a need or to cover up a feeling that they cannot deal with in any other way. Although bulimics may be reluctant to admit they have a problem, help for this eating disorder is available in many places.
In fact, the most difficult part about treating bulimia may not be the treatment itself, but rather the reluctance of the bulimic patient to seek out help. The bulimic patient may feel inadequate and out of control. Persons suffering from bulimia may feel embarrassed to admit to the condition.
The first step in treatment, therefore, is acknowledging that there is a problem. The bulimic patient should be encouraged to admit that he or she has this problem and to understand that different persons face different challenges and different issues every day.
The next step in treatment for bulimia is to engage in therapy. Available in many different forms, therapy may involve counseling with a mental health professional. Therapy may also involve a buddy system as well as following a diet set by a doctor or by a dietitian.
Self-help sources for bulimia are also available online on the Internet. All of these systems help the bulimic to establish healthy eating habits. In addition, therapy helps bulimic patients understand the reasons for their condition and helps them find alternative means of coping with the stresses and other factors in their lives that may have originally contributed to the bulimia.
These alternative coping mechanisms are important to prevent the bulimic from relapsing back into old habits of binging and purging when they are feeling stressed or inadequate. Therapy is a difficult process, but it is one that must be taken seriously, if it is to be successful. A strong, positive support system can play an important role in the recovery of the bulimic patient.
Encouragement from family, friends, and others, especially from persons that the patient admires, can be the difference between success and failure in the recovery process. When individuals are willing to admit they have bulimia and are willing to work hard in the therapy process while receiving positive recognition and encouragement from their support system, recovery from bulimia is not only possible, but can be very much of a reality.