Bulimia: Symptoms and Treatment
Bulimia is a mental disorder associated with eating disorders.In medical practice, as an independent disease, it began to be considered relatively recently.The main manifestation of bulimia - bouts of overeating, in which a person is able to consume a large amount of food, without experiencing saturation.After disruptions, bulimics feel guilty and try to get rid of the eaten in various ways, for example, by taking a laxative or inducing vomiting.This behavior inevitably leads to exhaustion of the body and the development of a variety of complications from various internal organs.Table of contents: Description of the disease Causes of bulimia Symptoms and signs of bulimia Consequences of bulimia Diagnosis of the disease Methods for treatment of bulimia
Characteristics of the disease
As statistics show, this ailment is more common in young girls and women under the age of thirty five.The hearts of all patients are only 5% male.A man with bulimia is haunted by two obsessions: eating and losing weight.Even very thin women can consider themselves too full, which forces them to adhere to the strictest diets.
Man, in fact, falls into a vicious circle, is in a state of constant stress.At some point, a nervous breakdown occurs-an attack of compulsive( uncontrolled) overeating.Absorbing food in a large volume, the patient experiences euphoria, which is then replaced by a strong sense of guilt and panic from the fact that this will entail an increase in body weight.Again, there is stress, hunger, etc.
The bulimics themselves do not consider themselves sick, do not seek help from specialists.Such people perceive a violation of their eating behavior, rather as a bad habit, which they are ashamed of.This explains the fact that all patients try to hide from their surrounding their overeating and "cleansing" the body.
Bulimia is almost always accompanied by other disorders, for example, alcoholism, sexual disorders, severe depression, etc.As medical practice shows, only about 50% of people achieve full recovery, but even they may have relapses.The success of treatment depends not only on properly chosen tactics, but also on the will and strength of the will of the patient himself.
Causes of bulimia
At the heart of the development of this mental disorder is, as a rule, a psychological trauma that caused a disruption of the functioning of the food center in the brain.Such injuries can occur even in infancy and childhood due to lack of nutrition and the attention of parents.In adolescents, the development of the disease can be facilitated by uncooperative relationships with peers.
Important: specialists note that the risk of pathology increases in children who are encouraged by eating for good study and behavior.This contributes to the fact that the child begins to consider food as the main source of positive emotions.
Other possible causes of bulimia:
- reduced self-esteem due to any existing or far-fetched external deficiencies, the desire for an ideal appearance model;
- increased anxiety, stress;
- deficiency of nutrients in the body caused by strict diets;
- hereditary predisposition.
Most bulimics are not able to understand on their own what exactly is pushing them to overeating.The trigger mechanism of the disease can be found with the help of specialists and take measures to control their own eating behavior.Symptoms and signs of bulimia
Physicians distinguish three main symptoms that characterize bulimia:
- uncontrolled craving for food that pushes the patient to eat large amounts of food in a short time;
- taking measures that, in the opinion of bulimic, will avoid obesity: taking diuretic and laxatives, inducing vomiting, carrying out cleansing enemas, exhausting physical exercises;
- fluctuations in body weight;
- self-assessment of the patient is based on the state of his figure.
There are a number of indicators that can be suspected bulimia in a loved one:
- frequent talk about proper nutrition, newfangled diets and excess weight;
- patients can recover abruptly, and then also sharply lose weight using fairly radical methods;
- increased fatigue, depressive state, decreased concentration of attention and memory, drowsiness during the day and insomnia at night - all these symptoms are a direct consequence of a lack of nutrients in the body;
- the presence of oral disease, deterioration of the teeth, susceptibility to frequent sore throats and pharyngitis, the presence of scratches on the fingers, heartburn - these signs of bulimia indicate that a person often causes a vomiting.Hydrochloric acid, contained in vomit, corrodes the oral mucosa, provokes an inflammatory process in the oropharynx;
- another sign of frequent vomiting can become bursting due to a sharp increase in blood pressure vessels in the eyeballs;
- bulimics often suffer from stool disorders caused by overeating;
- deficiency of nutrients leads to seizures, impaired functioning of the kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system;
- dry skin, signs of premature aging, unsatisfactory condition of nails and hair;
- in women often violated the menstrual cycle up to amenorrhea.This is due to the fact that one of the main causes of hormonal failures is a violation of metabolic processes in the body.
Attention ! Having discovered a sign of bulimia in a loved one, it should be realized that the patient himself is unable to help himself, so the only correct solution in this situation will be a doctor.
An attack of bulimia is characterized by an uncontrolled feeling of hunger, which can appear even with a full stomach.There are obsessive thoughts about specific dishes, dreams of food.All this prevents a person from concentrating on studying or working, leading a full life.
When bulimic remains alone, it literally jumps into food.With rapid absorption of food, the patient does not even feel her taste.Many people use together completely incompatible products.As a rule, bulimik prefer high-calorie food, for example, sweets.
After a break, the overfilled stomach puts pressure on the diaphragm and adjacent internal organs, hinders breathing, pains and spasms in the intestine.The feeling of euphoria is replaced by repentance, guilt, fear of excess weight.The patient has an irresistible desire to get rid of calories, which causes him to induce vomiting or take a laxative.
Important ! In the early stages of the disease, such disruptions happen infrequently, only after stressful actions.Over time, the situation is aggravated, and a person suffers from bulimia attacks several times a day.
Consequences of bulimia
As a serious disease of the nervous system, bulimia leads to severe complications, among which we can distinguish:
- decrease in blood pressure, provoking fainting;
- arrhythmias and other cardiovascular pathologies;
- kidney failure, developing due to deficiency of potassium salts;
- problems in the reproductive field: miscarriages in the early stages, impaired development of the fetus, infertility;
- diseases of the oropharynx and the entire digestive system as a whole;
- chronic pneumonia;
- sleep disorders;
- reduced performance;
- severe depression, attempted suicide.
- repeated episodes of overeating( at least twice a week for three months);
- obsessive thoughts about food;
- constant struggle against excess weight;
- frequent vomiting or spitting out food without swallowing;
- understated self-esteem.
- psychoanalysis - with the help of a psychoanalyst, it is possible to identify the underlying causes of eating disorders and develop a strategy for resisting bouts of the disease;
- cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most effective methods that involves carrying out work aimed at changing the patient's attitude to himself, to food and the world as a whole;
- group psychotherapy - working in a group helps a person understand that he is not alone in his problem.Group therapy improves self-esteem, but it is usually recommended at the final stages of bulimia treatment;
- family psychotherapy - is aimed at improving and strengthening family relationships, which is extremely important for people with mental disorders;
- interpersonal psychotherapy is a method suitable for people suffering from depression.The basis of this therapy is the identification of hidden problems in communicating with others;
- method of Mawdsley - used in the treatment of bulimia in adolescents and involves the direct involvement of parents in the therapeutic process;
- monitoring of food - adjusting the diet so that the patient uses a moderate amount of food rich in nutrients.It is recommended to keep a diary of nutrition, in which the patient will record all meals, as well as his emotions.
- antidepressants that improve the conductivity of nerve cell signals
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - contribute to the elimination of depressive conditions, and improve the conductivity of signals from the cerebral cortex to the food center;
- tricyclic antidepressants that increase the concentration of serotonin and adrenaline in nerve conductors, with a pronounced soothing effect
- antiemetics for the suppression of the emetic reflex - their administration can be recommended at the initial stages of treatment before the antidepressants start functioning.
In an attempt to hide illness from others, bulimics often lose social connections, move away from relatives and friends, which only exacerbates their emotional state.
Diagnosis of the disease
There are several diagnostic signs on the basis of which a diagnosis of "bulimia" can be made.
These diagnostic symptoms include:
An experienced physician should distinguish between common binge eating and compulsive overeating - bulimia.Common signs of these conditions include eating a large amount of food at a fast pace, usually alone.Both disorders are caused by disturbances in the emotional sphere and lead to a sense of shame.Features of bulimia consist in the fact that her attacks appear as a kind of reaction to stress, sadness, sadness or other emotions.Overeating in this case is not spontaneous, but it is planned for a patient who has a negative attitude towards food and is ashamed of the very fact of its use.
Bulimics always compensate for overeating with artificially induced vomiting, laxative, debilitating physical training.At the same time, the taste is absolutely not important to the patients and the type of products used.
Methods of treatment of bulimia
The problem of bulimia is in the competence of a doctor-psychotherapist or psychiatrist.In advanced cases, a person can be referred to inpatient treatment if he has signs of severe exhaustion and dehydration, severe depression with suicidal tendencies.Pregnant women suffering from bulimia are also treated in a hospital, since the disease poses a direct threat to the life of the child.
The best results are complex treatment of bulimia, combining psychotherapeutic and medical methods.Psychotherapeutic treatment is always selected individually.Typically, the course consists of ten to twenty sessions, which are held twice a week for several months.
The main areas of psychotherapy used in the treatment of bulimia:
Please note ! Psychotherapy should be supported by regular physical activity.If bulimic has co-morbid conditions, such as obesity or gastrointestinal illness, consultation of the narrow specialists and appropriate treatment is necessary.
With regard to drug treatment for bulimia, it may include, at the discretion of the attending physician, the following groups of drugs:
Patients and their relatives need to remember that bulimia treatment is always a complex and long process, the success of which is directly proportional to personal desire and effort.Having learned to control one's own eating behavior and enjoy not only food, a person will start to lead a full-fledged, versatile life.
Bulimia problems are often affected by various talk shows.One of these programs, which details the causes of bulimia, symptoms of pathology and treatment methods, you can see right now:
Chumachenko Olga, medical reviewer