California, Gurse Books, 1983 Essay, Research Paper
The book I read was about the hard difficult task of overcoming this terrible eating disorder known as Bulimia. It is a secret addiction that dominates thoughts, severely undercuts self esteem, and threatens lives. Bulimia is a food obsession characterized by repeated overeating binges followed by purges of forced vomiting, prolonged fasting, and/or abusive laxatives, enemas and diuretics. A typical binge/purge cycle, who and why people become involved with bulimia, and the medical complications of bulimia, are all amazing factors that we should be able to recognize this deadly disease by, enabling us to suggest treatment.
What is a typical binge? “Typical” depends entirely on the individual involved. The size and frequency can vary as well as the type of purge and the time between sessions. However, many bulimics follow the same pattern. They frequently start a binge while in the course of eating what is thought to be a “good” or “safe” meal or snack. They are very obsessive with what they eat; therefore, they usually find themselves feeling guilty about something they ate. This then leads to a craving of sweets and fried foods which leads them to believe they can eat anything they want, because after they purge, all the calories will be gone. In a typical binge, these sweets and fried foods are consumed in extremes. Bulimics always think it will be their last-ever binge. Following the binge-eating, bulimics will take the next step of purging, or vomiting up everything they had just taken in. Usually purging is postponed for about thirty minutes after drinking a large amount of water!
. After the time passes, most proceed with self-induced vomiting, bringing everything up that is possible. Bulimics often have a feeling of weakness, dizziness, and headaches following this process. This is a fairly gruesome process, and many people wonder why and who would want to do this to themselves.
Bulimia is generally considered to be a psychological and emotional disorder, but there are hypotheses that some bulimics are influenced by their heredity, or chemical imbalances in the body. The reason most people become bulimics is a complex mixture of childhood conflicts and culture pressures. Many bulimics find comfort and a way to release these pressures, take control and eat furiously for an hour, then turn back the clock by vomiting it all up. Our culture is obsessed with being thin to the extent of looking ill. Bulimic persons constantly compare their bodies-and lives in general- to those of other persons, and usually unfavorably, with further loss of self-esteem. The lives of bulimarexics are devoid of fun, humor, and genuine self-pleasure. A majority have lost sight of or, in some cases, never discovered the child within, that crazy, fun loving, exuberant part that permits us to reward ourselves for all we have accomplished. Bulimarexia can affect persons at !
any age, from the teens well into middle age. However, the majority of bulimics come from similar white, middle to upper-class backgrounds. Bulimics are often considered “ideal” children, are no longer among siblings, and do well in school. Bulimics also tend to be judgmental of themselves and others, have difficulty expressing emotions through language, fear criticism, and have an extremely low sense of self-esteem. They also tend to have a desire for perfection, a sense of loneliness and isolation, and an obsession of food as it relates to the body. Some of these persons feel that it is necessary to have two different personalities. One is the competent persons the outside world sees; and the other is the driven, out-of-control persons who will cheat, steal, or lie to satisfy her urge to binge.
The medical complications of bulimia result from the hazards accompanying intentional malnutrition, binge eating, self-induced vomiting, cathartic drug abuse, and strenuous exercise. Excessive vomiting can cause death from cardiac arrest, kidney failure, impaired metabolism, or severe dehydration. Other serious side-effects include rotten teeth, digestive disorders, amenorrhea, malnourishment, anemia, infected glands, blisters on the throat, internal bleeding, hypoglycemia, icy hands and feet, and a ruptured stomach or esophagus. There are emotional side effects as well, including social isolation, fear, generalized anxiety, loneliness, and low-self esteem. These emotional problems are blanketed by obsessive thoughts about food, secret rituals, and gorge-purge behavior. The binges associated with bulimia provide an instant numbness that is addictive in nature.
The widespread incidence of bulimarexia has gone unrecognized until fairly recently because binge-ing and purging is in essence secret behavior. These persons dread the possibility that their “disgusting” habit will ever be revealed, and few will tell the whole story to their doctors, therapists, or families. Even when they do, professionals and well intentioned loved ones are unable to provide the necessary help. Many more persons, unable to confess the whole truth, will fall back on vague hints that are typically misread. The majority of bulimics remain close to or near normal weight and may not appear sick in any way. However, if you know someone who is affected by this deadly disease you can tell them that you care about them and are there to support them if needed. Let them know that you don’t despise them for their eating problems. If they can open up to you with their emotions and honest feelings, it will surely help. Encourage them, but remember that they are !
the ones with the problem. Do not expect them to suddenly change unless they can come to this realization themselves. If they open up to you, it will become easier for them to talk to a professional. Only if people speak out, can they be helped.
Bulimia is a serious eating disorder in which binge-eating and purging are main characteristics. In moments of stress, bulimics turn toward food, not away from it. A typical binge could allow an intake of a total of 50,000 calories a day; however, a majority of these calories are released through purging. Bulimia is hidden very easily; the person sitting right next to you, your closest friend, or even a family member could be affected by it. The physical effects as well as the emotional can be deadly, and professional help should be sought.
Evaluation and Response
One of the strengths of this book is how much information and detail that was given. This is needed due to the fact that I’m very illiterate about eating disorders. It is hard for me to see sometimes why these people take these actions, that is why it was so important to have so much information and explanation. Another interesting fact that I liked about this book was the information about how to recognize the signs of a bulimic. One thing that I didn’t like about this book was them using long and complicated words, almost like a medical dictionary. I found myself looking a few words up here and there.
This book allows me to broaden my views about eating disorders. I have a close friend who is a recovering bulimic, and now I’m able to understand her problem a little better and realize ways to help. That is the most important key is getting someone with a eating disorder better, before they do any long term damage to there mind or body.