People with bulimia, known as bulimics, consume large amounts of food (binge) and then try to rid themselves of the food and calories (purge) by fasting, excessive exercise, vomiting, or using laxatives. The behavior often serves to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Because bulimia results from an excessive concern with weight control and self-image, and is often accompanied by depression, it is also considered a psychiatric illness.
Family pressures also may play a role. One study found that mothers who are extremely concerned about their daughters' physical attractiveness and weight may help to cause bulimia. In addition, girls with eating disorders tend to have fathers and brothers who criticize their weight. The cause of bulimia is unknown. Researchers believe that it may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. B
Early treatment is important otherwise bulimia may become chronic, with serious health consequences. A comprehensive treatment planis called for in order to address the complex interaction of physical and psychological problems in bulimia. A combination of drug and behavioral therapies is commonly used. Behavioral approaches include individual psychotherapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teachespatients how to change abnormal thoughts and behavior, is also used.
General Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.1 Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.2 Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.3 Students: 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting.