What are the symptoms of Bulimia?

In bulimia nervosa, the person eats a large amount of food then uses other behaviours such as vomiting, laxative misuse or excessive exercise to compensate for the binge.

What is defined as a binge? We all over-eat and comfort eat, particularly at particular times of the year such as Christmas. Binge eating means eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.

The key difference between a pattern of binge eating and over-indulgence is the regularity with which the binges take place. The binges are also likely to be triggered by difficult feelings, such as feeling down or anxious. Overall, the feeling towards food is an overwhelming loss of control over behaviour towards food and intense guilt about bingeing.

The guilt and fears about weight gain results in compensatory behaviours to rid the body of this excessive intake of food. This takes the form of vomiting, laxative misuse or excessive exercise.

People with bulimia nervosa tend to be of a fairly normal weight range, although there tends to be a slight, steady weight gain over time if the condition is left untreated. There are very serious physical side effects of bulimia.