Bulimia Essay, Research Paper
Bulimia is a variation of Anorexia. The victim goes on an incredible eating binge, and in response to the eating, purges by vomiting or taking laxitives. Unlike the anorexic sufferer, the bulimic victim is not usually emaciated, but maintains normal body weight and appears to be fit and healthy.
Bulimia was first described in England in the 17th Century, though it was only identified in 1873.
Bulimia affects men and women, though predominantly women. It is estimated that 90% of the people who suffer from this disorder are female. Gender identity in men is a prevailing issue. Approximately half of those men who suffer from Bulimia are homosexual or bisexual. Bulimia is related very often to depression, personality disorders, or substance.
Who suffers from Bulimia? It s not only the stereotypical young, white female. African American, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, rich and poor, from their teen years to well into their fifties, as well as the above mentioned gender statistics, there are victims from every age group, class, and culture.
The media and cultural attitudes also play a role in the development of Bulimia. People are bombarded everyday with images such as the ones on my poster. Did you know that 69% of female television characters are thin and only 5% are overweight?
The physical effects of Bulimia are almost endless. The ones people mostly know of are loss of menstruation, loss of hair, growth of downy hair on the face, and chipmunk cheeks . But there are very serious medical effects that are creating by the vomiting itself. Since the stomach naturally secretes acid, when the person continuously vomits, this acid is constantly brought up. The accumulative effect is receding and rotting gums, loss of teeth, bleeding and infection of the throat, and a severe electrolyte imbalance. The electrolyte imbalance is the most dangerous medical concern because of it s effect on the heart.
People can t always see these physical effects without seeing through the victim s behavior. The Bulimic sufferer is known to be extremely sneaky, by hiding food, making secret trips to the bathroom, and lying to avoid eating.
Other behaviors of the suffering Bulimic
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-4), the following Diagnositc Criteria are required for the diagnosis of Bulimia:
· regular (at least twice a week) episodes of binge-eating characterized by both:
1) 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 under similar circumstances
2) a sense of loss of control over eating during these episodes (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
· regular (at least twice a week) inappropriate compensatory behavior, such as self-induced vomiting; abusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas; fasting; or excessive exercise.
· undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation
· anorexia nervosa is not present (i.e., weight is greater than 85% of expected body weight)
Like recovering alcoholics, Bulimics need ongoing counsling and phsyciactric treatment. This can be both talk therapy and anti-depressants that combat the obsession with food. Also like recovering alcoholics, Bulimia is considered to never be truly cured. The Bulimic will need ongoing support from professionals, friends, and family. The best thing for a person to do, is to be supportive by letting the Bulimic know that you will be there for them.