Counselling for Bulimia Nervosa in Reading, Berkshire
What is Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia nervosa is a serious psychological eating disorder which is characterised by a secretive ‘binge-purge-cycle’ manifested by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours around food. Like all other eating disorders – including Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder – bulimia is essentially an anxiety disorder that involves an attempt to control food and eating as a way of coping with emotions and life, and is characterised by an obsessive preoccupation with weight and body shape. It is often linked with low self-esteem, emotional problems and stress.
Bulimia involves eating compulsively in response to some emotional hunger and then purging through self induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, strict diets, fasts, vigorous exercise, or any other compensatory behaviour which prevents the sufferer from gaining weight.
If you are suffering from bulimia you may be feeling trapped in a cycle of binge eating and purging; you may be experiencing a feeling of being stuck in a harmful cycle of eating very large amounts of food (more than most people would eat in one meal) in a short period of time and then doing whatever it takes to get rid of the food and calories you’ve consumed so that you can relieve your feelings of shame, guilt, self-hatred, or depression. You may be repeating this harmful behaviour because you’ve probably convinced yourself that if you don’t get rid of most of the calories or food you’ve consumed, then you will become ‘grotesquely fat’.
Bulimia involves compulsive eating or binge eating, which means eating large amounts of food very quickly, in an attempt to satisfy an emotional hunger. However, as this hunger is an emotional hunger rather than a physical hunger, food cannot and does not satisfy nor fulfil it. The binge, which usually consists of ‘comfort foods’ with high levels of sugar and calories, is followed by an irresistable urge to use any compensatory behaviour to avoid weight gain. Some individuals will also force themselves to get rid of the food or calories consumed even if they haven’t had a binge, but simply feel that they have broken their own strict dietary rules and eaten more than they should have.
Bingeing and purging in secret creates feelings of shame and guilt which, in the sufferer’s mind, can only be relieved by purging, fasting, and/or exercising. Starving or fasting for a few days after a binge is a common response and another way of making up for the vast amount of food consumed; however, voluntary starvation or fasting for even a short period of time contributes to and maintains the harmful and vicious ‘binge-purge cycle’, as the body eventually begins to fight back; the physiological hunger becomes so intense that the sufferer is forced to eat large amounts of food to satisfy the body’s ‘cry’ for vital nourishment.
Do you have bulimia? Do you…
- Make yourself sick after eating?
- Use laxatives, diuretics, enemas or diet pills to lose weight?
- Eat in secret?
- Obsess about what is in food and calories?
- Lose control over how much you eat?
- Find your moods being affected by how much you weigh?
- Have extreme fear and anxiety about gaining any weight?
- Overspend on food or steal food?
- Suffer from worn dental enamel, thinning hair, osteoporosis, or hormone imbalance?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above then you can begin your recovery by finding out how to survive an eating disorder. My specialist training in eating disorders means that I can offer you a treatment option that will help you to let go of your old destructive behaviours and to move forwards to recovery. You will learn new coping and relaxation skills so that you can be free from a problem you used to have by taking back control of your feelings, changing your relationship with food, releasing your anxieties, and reclaiming your self-worth.
Physical and medical symptoms of bulimia
- Frequent stomach pains
- Lethargy & fatigue
- Disruption of the menstruation cycle & hormone imbalance
- Dry or poor skin
- Sleep problems
- Puffy cheeks
- Sore throat, tears in the oesophagus or gastric rupture (stomach tear)
- Scarred hands & knuckles
- Blood-shot eyes
- kidney and bowel problems
- Heart palpitations
- Frail hair or nails
- Tooth decay and gum problems
- Bad breath and mouth infections
Behavioural and emotional symptoms of bulimia
- Eating large quantities of food
- Dramatic increase in food intake yet no weight change
- Being sick after meals, snacks or binges
- Repeated episodes of bingeing and purging (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting)
- Frequent & obsessive dieting
- Periods of fasting
- Obsession and distorted perception body weight and shape – poor self-image
- Intense & vigorous exercise routine as a compensatory behaviour
- Isolation – feeling helpless and lonely, and reluctant to socialise
- Feeling anxious, emotional and depressed – suffering from mood swings, low self-esteem, shame and guilt
- Feeling ‘out of control’ around food, during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
- Impulsive behaviour
- Being secretive and lying – hiding and hoarding food
- Alcohol/drug abuse
- Sexual promiscuity
It’s important to note that not everyone will have all of the above listed symptoms in order to have a serious eating disorder; each individual is different, and therefore will be experiencing a different set or a mixture of these symptoms. The side effects and consequences of bulimia, like anorexia, can be very serious and if left untreated can be damaging to your health. Therefore it’s important that you get a medical diagnosis and advice from your doctor.
Find out more by following the links below:
- What is an Eating Disorder?
- Binge Eating Disorder
- Weight Management
- Body Image
What’s the Next Step?
To book your FREE consultation or to find out how Counselling in Reading Berkshire can help you,
Please CALL 07846 989439
or send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
All enquiries are in the strictest confidence with the highest discretion.
I look forward to hearing from you.
If you have a specific medical problem or complaint, it is recommended that you seek help from your GP or medical practitioner before you seek counselling. This will allow you to have the necessary checks to determine whether your condition has a physiological or medical cause. More importantly, if such a condition is identified, then the appropriate medical intervention can be applied.
Your health may be compromised if you use any extreme weight control behaviours (even if occasionally) as there are many physical complications that can arise from extreme food restriction, fasting or losing weight too quickly, from self-induced vomiting, abusing laxatives/diuretics,
as well as from extreme exercise.
If you think you might be suffering from an eating disorder it’s important to talk to you GP for a full medical check-up.