Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bulimia/Purging

I will do my best to explain these disorders, as was requested by some readers. I have not experienced them first hand, but I work with NEDIC/other organizations to help people with them, and I have researched quite a bit on them. I hope this helps!

Bulimia is an ED in which the victim eats food and then purges. Purging can take many forms, but the most common ways are vomitting, excercising excessively, or using laxatives. I want to make a clear distinction here: there is bulimia, anoerxia nervosa purging, and binge-purge disorder. Bulimia alone is simply the act of eating normal food amunts but then purging. AN purging is when the person eats very little, but still purges. Binge-purge is when the victim eats tremendous amounts of amounts, and then purges.

Purging is extremely harmful to the human body. There are numerous consequences, including teeht problems, throat irritation, stomach cancers, acid reflux, etc. Aside from that, it is a hard habit to break. Just as starvation became the norm for me, so does purging for these victims. The impulse to purge is so strong and hard to resist. For example, someone who has this disorder might eat and then run to the bathroom to throw up. Others will take laxatives in extreme quantities to berid of the food. In treatment centres, bathrooms are often looked for this purpose. This is why someone with a purging disorder needs help: if they are at home or somewhere else, it is easy for them to purge. In treatment, however, they cannot. I do not mean that you cannot recover from purging at home - this is something your medical team can help you determine. However, it requires self-control, discipline, and a lot of strength.

I have worked with people who tell me that purging makes them feel 'clean' after they have just eatena meal. This poor victims have a problem: whenever they eat, they feel fat - just like I used to. They feel so bad for eating that they cannot stand having something in their bodies and stomachs. So, they find a way to make themselves empty. It soon becomes a cycle of eating, purging, eating, purging, etc. Again, this disorder might not be correcrly diagnosed in people for many reasons. First, someone might purge and their weight can still be normal, or they might not look thin. Thus, their disorder might be unrecognized. Next, people will not usually admit to purging, or to having any ED for that matter. Finally, the DSM criteria for diagnosing these disorders is very narrow: you have to purge at least three times a week, eat a lot of food in one sitting, etc. So, if someone who purges twice a week still has this problem, they unfortunately will not get diagnosed. If you can tell by my posts, you will notice that this is a major problem I have with the DSM: it fails to identify many people with EDs because of the strict and exlcusive criteria.

Treatment for purging is hard, just like with any ED. The victim MUST stop purging. Supporters can help the patient by staying with them after meals, or by distracting them. For example, after a meal, play a game, watch a movie, or talk. Victims often will not want to talk about the disorder, unless they feel safe and can trust others. Talking can help this person identify why they purge and how it harms them. Restoration of a healthy weight is also important, along with regular eating patterns.

To all those who struggle with purging, you have my prayers and support. I know that it is hard; anorexia nervosa was the hardest struggle I have encountered in my life. But I also know that recovery is completely possible. It takes so much work, but it can be done. Do not give up. At the same time, do not give in to ED. He is a nasty, cunning, and mean fool who will do anything to have more victims. Do not fall prey to his traps; get help and ensure that you live a healthy, happy life.

11 comments:

  1. I have bulemia ,binge-purge type and I was diagonsed after 5 years of struggle and denial.
    I was so sick and fatigue and could not walk and only after hospital visit my potasium was very low and after questioning ,psychiatrist referal made and I was diagnosed to the surprize of my family.
    The good news I am better and the hint that helped me is one theapist told me if you so strong to do this and keep secret for years ,you also so strong to stop the burge and eat normal.

    Thanks to your blog Marina ,I feel supported ,listened to and educated .

    Savana

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  2. Can people with bulemia get better on their own if they choose to as you did ??

    Soliman

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  3. I heard about bulemia a lot.I had few friends with it.?
    Can they help themselves and challenging the the disease.???


    Celest

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  4. I am glad you are extending your input to those with bulemia as the prevalence of bulemia is way too much than only anorexia.
    Thank you for support of bulemic.

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  5. Now I can understand bulemia ,people every where taking about and how destructive this disease to human body.
    Thanks Marina for your clarification and help to others.

    Juliana

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  6. I have a friend (roommate with bulemia ,what can I do to help her.


    Cindy

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  7. Purging can kill people even when they are normal or over weight as it disturbs the body dynamics
    Purging is a serious disease ,even more serious than just restriction.
    May God bless us and prevent illness before happen

    Molinda

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  8. B and P is a serious illness.I hope no one has to suffer.
    If parents ,schools and media come together to raise awareness and prevent it from happening
    A wish
    Thanks Marina for talking about this and i am glad you do not have B and P and you are heping those victims ,not only Anorexic restrictive .
    Keep up


    Elora

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  9. Marina You are right,DSM criteria can miss a lot of people who may later on turn to have the diagnosis.
    It is my understanding that the wisdom behind this strict criteria is to avoid overdiagnosis and labeling when the criteria can be better explained by a similar condition.
    You know in mental health We do not have a blood test or other objective evidence and We rely totally on subjective auditing of client's symtoms by history .There are many similar conditions in medicine and one has to be able to differentiate between to reach the most approprite diagnosis.

    Thank you for the effort to give us a summary of bulemia so that all of us can understand .
    Thank you for extending your help to reach out..

    Penny
    Medical student

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  10. What a wonderful blog that is supportive and informative.
    I try not to miss any post.
    Thanks Marina

    Oswaldo

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  11. Marina
    You are really knowledgeable and your writing is well searched and up to date.
    Cheers

    Kelly W

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