What are the warning signs of bulimia

Symptoms of bulimia (vomiting addiction)

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The following symptoms and signs are typical of bulimia (bulimia nervosa):

  • Normal weight
    The body weight is usually in the normal range, but can fluctuate.
  • Binge eating
    A person with a bulimic binge eats significantly more than most people could eat in the same amount of time under the same circumstances. Those affected can consume over 5,000 kilocalories per attack. The binge eating and compensatory behavior occur over a period of at least three months and an average of twice a week and take place in complete secrecy.
  • Loss of control
    Affected people have the feeling of losing control of themselves during a binge eating.
  • Compensation behavior
    A person with bulimia prevents weight gain by, for example, self-induced vomiting, misuse of drugs such as laxatives, diuretics, thyroid hormones and appetite suppressants, through intermittent hunger periods and excessive physical activity.
  • Fear of gaining weight
    Almost all people with bulimia have a panic fear of weight gain and develop their own eating rituals and control measures - for example, weighing daily to maintain their weight.
  • Body schema disorder
    Although people with bulimia are usually of normal or ideal weight, they either feel too fat overall or in certain parts of their body. Self-esteem is overly influenced by the subjective perception of one's own figure and body weight.
  • Disease awareness
    In contrast to anorexics, people with bulimia perceive their disease as such and have a high level of suffering and feelings of guilt. But the vomiting and the illness are kept a secret. However, once the disease has been revealed, there is a high willingness to treat.
  • Physical signs
    Due to the constant vomiting, the salivary glands often swell in those affected. They often have real hamster cheeks.
  • Author: vitanet.de; medical quality assurance: Cornelia Sauter, doctor
  • Swell: Federal Center for Health Education: Eating-vomiting-addiction
  • Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Clinic of the Ruhr University Bochum / Westphalian Clinic Dortmund: Bulimia
  • Guideline: Diagnosis and therapy of eating disorders (http://www.awmf.org/uploads/tx_szleitlinien/051-026l_S3_Diagnostik_Therapie_Essst%C3%B6rungen.pdf)
  • University of Göttingen: Bulimia nervosa (http://www.psychosomatik.uni-goettingen.de/download/51%20Praktikum%20Bulimie.pdf)
  • Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg: Information on eating disorders on the Internet (http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/fuer/beschaeftigte/beratung_und_hilfe/suchtberatung/infos_zum_thema/essstoerungen/)