Bulimia is term used commonly for an eating disorder called Bulimia nervosa. It is a psychological condition in which a person engages in recurrent binge eating followed by intentionally doing one or more of the following in order to compensate for the intake of the food and prevent weight gain:

* vomiting

* inappropriate use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics or other medication

* excessive exercising

* fasting

The following six criteria should be met for a person to be diagnosed with bulimia.

1) The person feels incapable of controlling the urge to binge, even during the binge itself, and consumes a larger amount of food than a person would normally consume at one sitting.

2) The person purges him or herself of the recent intake, resorting to vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, exercising, etc.

3) The person engages in such behavior at least twice per week for three months.

4) The person is focused upon body image and desperate desire to appear thin.

5) The person does not meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa. Some anorectics may demonstrate bulimic behaviors in their illness: binge-eating and purging themselves of food on a regular or infrequent basis at certain times during the course of their disease. Alternatively, some individuals might switch from having anorexia to having bulimia. The mortality rate for anorectics who practice bulimic behaviors is twice that of anorectics who do not.)

6) The person is of normal weight or overweight.

Bulimia is often less about food, and more to do with deep psychological issues and profound feelings of lack of control. Binge/purge episodes can be severe, sometimes involving rapid and out of control feeding that can stop when the sufferers are interrupted by another person or when their stomach hurts from over-extension. This cycle sometimes repeated several times a week or, in serious cases, several times a day. Sufferers often use the destructive eating pattern to gain control over their lives.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see the advice of qualified professional if you or someone you know suffers from bulimia.

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