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Learn about the causes of Bulimia & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Bulimia within New Zealand.

Bulimia is an eating disorder, characterised by excessive binge eating followed by intentional vomiting or laxative use to prevent weight gain. It is a psychological condition based on a fear of becoming fat


Causes of bulimia  Bulimia | The Wellness Directory

Bulimia has no single cause but can be triggered by a number of social, environmental and genetic factors.

It is psychological and emotional factors which commonly cause bulimia. Low self-esteem can change the way someone perceives themselves and losing weight is typically seen as way to increase or gain self-worth. Binge eating is often a way to cope with depression with bulimia sufferers often feeling depressed - this causes a negative cycle. Other mental health conditions such as anxiety, OCD or post-traumatic stress can also be associated with bulimia.

Social factors such as friends, media and the fashion industry create a pressure to aspire for low body weight which may then lead to bulimia. Emotional problems and stress from traumatic experiences such as bereavement, divorce or abuse can trigger bulimia as a coping mechanism.

Physical problems such as illness or injury are factors that can cause bulimia as can going through puberty. Puberty is a time when teenagers feel out of control of their lives and bulimia is a way of regaining that control.

Genetic factors have a related risk to developing bulimia particularly if a close relative has suffered with the condition.


Symptoms of bulimia 

Bulimia sufferers will experience symptoms of binge eating and purging of food.

Binge eating involves frequently eating large quantities of food that is high in calorie content even when the individual isn't necessarily hungry. The rapid consumption of food often leads to physical discomfort. Binges may be spontaneous while other episodes of bingeing may be pre-planned with a trip to the supermarket to buy foods in which to binge on.

Purging is the response to binge eating whereby the individual feels physically uncomfortable, guilty, full of self-loathing and regretful of their actions. However, the over-riding fear is of weight gain and so purging the food is the quickest way to remove it from the system. Purging may involve forced vomiting or laxatives. Bulimia sufferers may also over-exercise, take diet pills or illegal drugs or go through periods of starvation as a means to prevent weight gain.

Other signs and symptoms of bulimia include:

  • Regular weight fluctuation
  • Obsessing about food and eating
  • Over-spending on food
  • Disappearing during meal times (typically to vomit)
  • Episodes of over-eating
  • Starvation
  • Scarring or toughened skin on the knuckles (from forcing fingers down the throat to induce vomiting)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • A distorted view of body image (weight, shape etc.)

Diagnosis of bulimia

If you, or someone you know, suspect bulimia then a visit to the GP is essential. This isn't always easy as recognising there is a problem is often the most difficult step toward recovery. Bulimia sufferers may have had the condition for many months or even years.

Once a GP has made their initial assessment they will refer you to a mental health specialist such as a counsellor or psychologist who will help in your treatment and recovery.

*Source: GoToSee.co.uk

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