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.

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