There is an alarming epidemic taking place in the United States. It affects more than 8 million Americans.

There is an alarming epidemic taking place in the United States. It affects more than 8 million Americans. It’s called bulimia nervosa, and is more commonly referred to as bulimia. It is a devastating eating disorder with a higher mortality rate within mental illnesses.

What exactly is bulimia?

The goal of someone suffering from bulimia, is to control their body’s potential to gain weight. People with this disease will generally eat a large amount of food within a short span of time. This is known as “binge-eating.”

To a person affected by bulimia, food is viewed as the enemy. So after binging, he or she will force themselves to vomit the food they have just eaten. This is called “purging”.

They may also take laxatives in greater quantities than what is considered safe.

Warning signs of bulimia
In addition to binge-eating and purging there are some other common symptoms of someone who is suffering from bulimia nervosa.
An intense fear of gaining weight
Extreme exercising
Constantly weighing him or herself
Very uncomfortable with their body image
Overly concerned about food
Severe Anxiety

What causes bulimia?
Researchers can’t say 100 percent how or why someone develops bulimia. But based on research and studies, they believe there are specific factors that somehow contribute toward the onset of bulimia.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common.

Society’s idealization of thinness

The pressure to be thin is overwhelming. Constant exposure to Hollywood’s illustration of what men and women should look may affect the mindset of someone who has a distorted view of themselves, especially those who are at risk for developing bulimia.

Genetic predisposition

Although no one is sure how, there does seem to be at least some possibility of being genetically predisposed. If, for example, a mother is diagnosed with bulimia, the likelihood of her child developing the disorder is statistically high.

History of trauma or elevated stress

There is also evidence that suggests that a person’s response to highly stressful life situations can also act as a trigger for bulimia nervosa.
Co-occurring depression or anxiety

Many people affected by bulimia or other eating disorders are also suffering from severe anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. They may be depressed or very isolated from their family and friends because of their disease.

People with bulimia often feel ashamed of their disorder and feel powerless to stop their eating disordered behaviors. Many times, there is a lack of knowledge about eating disorders and the type of treatments that are most effective.

Myths about bulimia

Better education for the general public can go a long way in the fight to raise awareness for bulimia. Unfortunately many people are misinformed about bulimia nervosa.
Here are two of the most common myths:

Only women are affected

False. If you ask someone what they know about bulimia, the typical answer tends to be that it is an eating disorder that only women can get. While it is true that the majority of those with bulimia are women, of the 8 million people in America who are struggling with bulimia, 1 million are men.

Bulimia is the same as anorexia

False. Those with bulimia can be of average weight or over weight and nevertheless suffer from bulimia. They will consume an excessive amount of calories each day. People with anorexia focus on eating very little or nothing at all.

Rudy McCormick is the author of this article on Bulimia Treatment. Find more information, about Bulimia Nervosa here

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