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what is bulimia





Eating disorders characterized by severe disturbances in eating behaviors can be extremely harmful to one’s social, physical, and mental health. Among several other types, bulimia is one such life-threatening disorder that harmfully impacts the physical, mental, and social functions of life.

What is bulimia nervosa?

Often called bulimia, bulimia nervosa is a chronic, potentially fatal eating disorder characterized by uncontrollable episodes of excessive overeating followed by purging behaviors. People with bulimia typically consume substantially large amounts of food in a short period of time. This overeating episode is called bingeing, during which, the person usually feels unable to stop or control the amount of food consumed. Each bingeing episode usually lasts until the person is fully satisfied or even painfully full. This over intake of calories is than followed by either gut discomfort, and/or guilt of over consumption of calories.

To compensate for over-intake of calories, the person then attempts to purge. Common purging behaviors include self-induced vomiting, fasting, misuse of laxatives or enemas, and excessive exercise.

How is bulimia different from binge eating disorder?

People can often confuse bulimia with binge eating disorder as both the illnesses share cycle of excessive overeating. However, the two disorders have a significant dissimilarity. Binge eating disorder is limited to the binge behavior i.e., no purging is involved. In bulimia nervosa, on the other hand, the binges are always followed by some form of purge, usually, forced vomiting.

How forced vomiting impacts your body?

According to Pamela K. Kaela professor at Florida State University, Psychology Department, frequent self-induced vomiting causes dehydration, lower blood pressure and slower or irregular heart rate. In addition, Keel says that since self-induced vomiting causes the loss of stomach acid, it contributes to abnormally low potassium levels in the blood. It can also lead to frequent heartburn, abdominal pain, or nausea. Furthermore, the erosion of tooth enamel due to stomach acid results in dental cavities. (Keel 2019).

What are the causes and risk factors of bulimia nervosa?

Researchers believe that bulimia nervosa begins with dissatisfaction and extreme concern with your body image. This lower self-esteem and fear of being overweight may be caused by a combination of certain personality traits, as well as biological and environmental factors. Other studies suggest that bulimia can also be genetic and can be inherited.

How Massage therapy can help with Bulimia:

Many bulimic patients suffer from anxiety and depression.  They see their bodies as something unacceptable that must be fixed at any cost. Psychologists connect the self-esteem and body image of a person with the physical expressions of affection and protection they receive. From this perspective, massage therapy helps patients change the way they view their bodies by getting at the root of the problem and reducing the dissatisfaction they have with their bodies.

Moreover, with its depression-busting and stress-reducing powers, massage therapy lowers the stress hormone level by boosting the production of happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. This leads to happier, calmer patients who are better able to cope with the recovery process. In this way, a regular and compassionate touch provided by a licensed massage therapists can help break down the hateful, disrespecting relationship patients have with their bodies, which could eventually improve their self-image.

Caution: This article is of a sensitive nature and is for entertainment purposes only. EM Wellness Massage does not diagnose or give advice to anyone who may have this issue. If you feel you, or a loved one may be dealing with this issue, please consult your primary care physician or a mental health professional.

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