anorexia nervosa, another eating disorder. People who
have anorexia eat so little that they become extremely thin. People who have
bulimia may not be thin. They may be a normal size. They may binge in secret
and deny that they are purging. This makes it hard for others to know that a
person with bulimia has a serious problem.
If you are concerned
about someone, look for the following signs. A person may have bulimia if
- Goes to the bathroom right after
secretive about eating, hides food, or will not eat around other
- Exercises a lot, even when she does not feel
- Often talks about dieting, weight, and body
- Uses laxatives or diuretics often.
- Has teeth
marks or calluses on the back of her hands or swollen cheeks or jaws. These are
caused by making herself vomit.
Bulimia can be treated with
psychological counseling and sometimes medicines, such as antidepressants. The
sooner treatment is started, the better. Getting treatment early can make
recovery easier and prevent serious health problems.
with a counselor, a person with bulimia can learn to feel better about herself.
She can learn to eat normally again and stop purging.
mental health problems such as depression often happen with bulimia. If a
person has another condition along with bulimia, more treatment may be needed,
and it may take longer to get better.
Eating disorders can take a
long time to overcome. And it is common to fall back into unhealthy ways of
eating. If you are having problems, don't try to handle them on your own. Get
It can be very scary to realize that someone you care about has an eating
disorder. If you think a friend or loved one has bulimia, you can help.
- Talk to her. Tell her why you are worried.
- Urge her to talk to someone who can help, like a doctor or
counselor. Offer to go with her.
- Tell someone who can make a
difference, like a parent, teacher, counselor, or doctor. The sooner your friend
or loved one gets help, the sooner she will be healthy again.