Every living being eats in order to survive. It is a necessity—a basic fact of life. For humans, eating has evolved to the point that some have made it into an art. Unfortunately, modern times has also brought with it eating disorders that are essentially made worse by the demands of modern society and its perception.
Dying To Stay Thin
Bulimia is one of the eating disorders—together with anorexia—in which the person is so preoccupied about food and their weight that they lose any sense of focus on anything else. It is currently plaguing a lot of modern people today, most of them women. People with bulimia go on repeated food binges, usually in secret and in a small amount of time. The binge is then followed by a behavior to compensate, called “purging”. Purging is when the food is then forcibly thrown out of the body, either through self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, or excessive exercises and fasting. A potential complication is that most bulimic people are of normal weight or slightly overweight, so the problem is not readily apparent at first.
Like all other eating disorders, there is no exact cause of bulimia. Most physicians agree, however, that it can be a mental illness, stemming from psychological, biological, and social factors. Oftentimes, bulimia is related to feelings of lack of self control. The destructive cycle of binge-eating and purging is usually the manifestation or attempt at having some sort of control in their lives.
Biological angles are also being considered for possible bulimia causes. Some studies show that people who are connected biologically to a bulimic may develop the illness too, pointing to a possible genetic link. The brain chemical serotonin is also evidenced to have a possible link to bulimia since it has a connection to a person’s regular food intake.
Finally, modern society’s obsession and point of view that thinner equated to naturally better may heavily influence peer pressure to be “thin”. Such pressure may have a direct cause on bulimic people’s obsession to their weight.
Ways To Get Rid of Bulimia
Once you’re diagnosed with bulimia, all gloves are off. Don’t attempt to get rid of it yourself. Don’t think that it is something you can control or will, because it’s not; it’s actually the exact opposite. Bulimia is a serious psychological problem that needs professional attention the moment it is diagnosed or detected. Getting rid of it requires a combination of treatment that you should strictly adhere to. When diagnosed with bulimia, here are the things you have to do:
- Treat any medical condition you may have. Before treating bulimia itself, you have to treat all other health complication arising from it first, such as anemia. It is important that you eliminate all other factors that may complicate your bulimia treatment, to ensure that your condition will not get worse.
- See a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist. Since it is largely agreed upon in the medical circle that bulimia is a predominantly psychological issue, psychotherapy will hopefully address it properly. In psychotherapy, you try to treat your condition by talking about it with a mental expert. Psychotherapy can either be counseling, talk therapy, or psychosocial therapy.There are many forms of talk therapy used to treat bulimia. A type of talk therapy called as cognitive behavioral therapy seems to have shown the most promise in treating bulimia. In it, you will identify the unhealthy beliefs and behaviors that prompt you to binge and purge, and then replace it with healthy ones. The main concept behind this treatment is that it’s your thoughts and not your environment that determine how you behave. Think of it as mental conditioning to the extreme.On the other hand, there is also something called interpersonal therapy, which focuses on your relationship with the people around you. The goal for this therapy is to improve how you relate with others, like your family and friends. From this relationship point of view, it is hoped that you will then be able to come up with strategies to curb or eliminate your bulimic habits.
- Take your prescribed medications. Antidepressants such are sometimes given by doctors to mitigate and control your bulimia. They do are not used to treat bulimia itself, merely lessening the factors that may compound your condition. For example, Prozac is an SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) that controls your food intake and purging.
- Consult a dietitian. A dietitian can help you meet your nutritional needs and help you plan a diet while you’re trying to get rid of bulimia. Nutritional therapy will be a very useful tool in helping you get over your condition.
- Have yourself be admitted to a hospital. Bulimia can be treated outside the hospital. However, these are for cases that are not that severe. For those that have become life-threatening, you really have to be in a hospital. There are specialized eating disorder clinics that can help with your condition and supervise you. These clinics offer intensive continuous treatment, usually lasting for several weeks. Checking yourself in the hospital will assure you that you will be monitored 24 hours a day.
Aside from the medical steps outlined above, there are several things you can personally do to cope with bulimia.
- Identify any situations that may trigger or cause your bulimia and come up with a plan to deal with them. Also have a back-up plan to deal with the emotional repercussions that will inevitably follow after.
- Resist the urge to skip meals or go on a diet. While these may be opposites of bingeing, your initial plan is to normalize your eating patterns. Dieting can also trigger binges, worsening the situation instead.
- Busy yourself with activities. Find hobbies that will occupy your time and mind so you won’t have time to think of your bulimia. A busy schedule will also keep your thoughts off food and bingeing.
- Build up your self-esteem. Tell yourself that you don’t have anything to worry about, with regard to social projection and image. Tell yourself you’re a healthy individual and that you don’t need drastic practices to look good.
- Don’t visit websites or associate with people who advocate eating disorders.
Bulimia is something that should never be taken lightly. If left unsupervised, it can—and will—lead to death. People with bulimia shouldn’t also be shunned. It’s a condition that cannot be totally controlled by your own. Seek the help of professionals and do not isolate yourself from your family and from the people who care about you. You will need them to overcome your condition. Finally, be kind to yourself. Have confidence in your looks. Once you’ve gained, you don’t need to change your looks knowing you’re as good as the others.