Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder primarily classified by recurring episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors such as vomiting, use of laxatives or exercise. For someone struggling with Bulimia, behaviors surrounding food are a source of shame and are often done in secret. Hiding the signs and symptoms is part of the disorder and can make early detection from family and friends difficult. Someone struggling with Bulimia may maintain a healthy body weight or even be above weight, which may create a false sense that the person suffering is healthy. If you notice some of the signs and symptoms below in yourself or a loved one, contact us today for a free phone assessment.
Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
- Eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time
- Eating past fullness or until physically uncomfortable
- Purging food through vomiting, compulsive exercise or using laxatives, diet pills or enemas
- Hiding or hoarding food
- Missing food, excuses for money or food missing, and hidden wrappers or food containers
- Always going to the bathroom after eating
- Damaged teeth and gums
- Swollen cheeks (chipmunk cheeks)
- Sores in the throat or mouth
- Sores, calluses or scars on the knuckles
According to the DSM-5 criteria, to be diagnosed as having Bulimia Nervosa a person must display:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
- Eating in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
- Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
- The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
- The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least twice a week for 3 months.
- Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
- The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.