Posts Tagged ‘Compulsive Overeating’

Physical Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

Bathroom sink with blue

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by bingeing and purging. People diagnosed with bulimia frequently binge on food, eating thousands of calories in a single episode. Feelings of shame and disgust often accompany these binge eating episodes, leading to purging behaviors such as vomiting, laxative abuse, over-exercising and/or fasting. This compensatory behavior is a tell-tale sign that an individual is suffering from bulimia. Despite attempts to lose weight by purging, those with bulimia generally maintain a body weight that is normal or slightly above average.

According to the DSM-5, the following criteria must be met for an individual to be diagnosed with bulimia (please note that if all of the following are not met, an individual may still have a serious eating disorder that requires treatment):

  1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    1. Eating, within a two- hour window, an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
    2. Lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that you cannot stop eating or control how much you are eating).
  1. Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
  2. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  3. Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
  4. Binging or purging does not occur exclusively during episodes of behavior that would be common in those with anorexia nervosa.

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Amazing Grazing

Girl holding coffee and scone

This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

by Rebecca Haerin Erickson, MA, former Emily Program client continuing her recovery process. Rebecca is pursuing her license in Marriage in Family Therapy in Minneapolis, MN.

Food is a part of my brain and is always on my mind. In 2012, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder—compulsive overeating. I would sit in front of Netflix and eat bowls and bowls of Ramen noodles. I would also finish off an entire economy-sized bag of cereal in one sitting. I usually ate because I was burying a terrible feeling: loneliness. Sometimes I ate not because of loneliness, but out of boredom, or stress, or hatred for my body. I gained a lot of weight, but my eating was also a gradual decay of my spirit and my self-worth. I could never numb myself enough. I never became bulimic, but I did go through moments where I restricted food intentionally.

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