What You Don’t Know About Bulimia Can Hurt You
There are many facets pertaining to the eating disorder known as Bulimia that are widely misunderstood. If and when we act from misconceptions about the disorder, well-meaning parents or loved ones of an individual suffering from bulimia may actually inhibit recovery and healing. As with common myths and misconceptions about anorexia, myths about bulimia can originate from any number of different reasons, from a lack of education to good old fashioned denial.
Equipping ourselves with the latest information and basic understanding of this disorder can help kick start the healing process, in ourselves or those we care about. The first step is to break through the common myths surrounding bulimia nervosa. Understanding the nature of this disorder is a crucial first step to overcoming this deadly disease.
So what, exactly, are the commonly held misconceptions about bulimia?
Bulimia is always associated with vomiting.
Bulimia is defined by a binge-and-purge behavior pattern. After eating, an individual suffering from bulimia will attempt to purge his or her body through any number of means. Vomiting is just one of the methods of purging. Laxatives and diuretics are also common methods individuals with bulimia will use to purge. It is important if you suspect a loved one may be suffering from this disease that you are aware that indications can make themselves known in a number of different ways. Always be vigilant!
Only women suffer from bulimia.
While it is true that more females struggle with eating disorders than males, bulimia can also affect men. Some men may be better able to hide their disorder, especially men who are involved in sports or athletics. Bulimia knows no bounds and affect anyone from any race, gender or background the world over.
A child or teen with bulimia will grow out of it.
It should not be assumed an individual with bulimia will simply “grow out of it.” Bulimia is a serious disorder caused by a number of factors. It is difficult for anyone to overcome the disorder without proper treatment. The longer it goes untreated, the more difficult it is to treat, as the behavior is more difficult to resist.
Bulimia is not life-threatening.
Through the binge-and-purge process, the body loses potassium and other essential nutrients, as well as electrolytes that are necessary for proper function and health of the body. Potassium and electrolyte deficiencies can lead to heart problems or stroke, both of which can potentially be fatal. Additionally, bulimia can cause ulcers in the stomach, which could result in the stomach rupturing. This fallacy may be the most urgent to understand, and potentially deadliest, as the devastating effects of bulimia should never be underestimated!
Dieting causes bulimia.
It is a misnomer that dieting is a culprit when it comes to developing eating disorders. It is certainly possible to diet in a healthy fashion. However, everyone is different and some react to the need to lose weight in different ways. When eating, and not eating, become an obsession, that is often times when the roots of eating disorders take hold. Bulimia, like anorexia, is often associated with a need to control. This is often deeply embedded in more serious issues than simply a desire to lose weight.
There are many wonderful resources on the Internet to learn more about this debilitating disorder. You can start with checking out the website of the National Eating Disorders Association: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or the Shades of Hope treament facility based in Buffalo Gap, Texas: 1-800-588-HOPE.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from bulimia, do not ignore the signs. Seek help from a professional.
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