Essay Bulimia: Bulimia Nervosa and Physical Health Problems

Submitted By mbriggs09
Words: 854
Pages: 4

Eating Disorders: Bulimia Nervosa Bulimia nervosa affects approximately one percent to three percent of young women in the United States, with the onset of the disease starting in the adolescent’s youth. It is a powerful, life altering disease with an unknown cause, severe side effects, and may cause further complications. People struggling with this disease are usually aware they have a problem, but treating the illness can be difficult. Bulimia is a reoccurring mental ailment very common in today’s society due to the immense pressure and expectations deriving from the media and social networking sites. Acceptance is pivotal amongst young women throughout the United States. The desire to be thin, up to date with constant changes in fashion, and intelligent has overcome the mindset of most adolescents, especially teenage women. As a result, many young girls feel the need to do whatever it takes to stay within a certain weight range. Bulimia nervosa stems from these pressured feelings. As bulimia develops, “one may not eat at the beginning of the day. But later they may binge to comfort themselves, especially at the end of a stressful day” (Bulimia Nervosa: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes). The act of bulimia is often done in private because the person may feel guilt or shamefulness. The immediate purging after a binge eating causes the brain to feel an overwhelming amount of endorphins that produce happiness within the individual. After endorphins are released into the brain, the cycle of bulimia can be recognized as something that provides pleasure. The feeling of guilt after binging is suddenly released when the food is regurgitated and exits the body, thus producing a happier sensation. Once initiated, bulimia is a highly addictive cycle that has many underlying side effects other than anorexia and rapid weight loss. Bulimia nervosa can lead to long term health issues if not addressed immediately and appropriately. If an individual with bulimia has hidden their disease from others for months or years, the amount of physical health problems increase as well as the amount of emotional or mental health issues. Physical health problems that arise from bulimia nervosa are tooth decay, gingivitis, osteoporosis, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. These problems range from mild to severe, but can be dangerous if not properly taken care of. Bulimia can also cause someone to not act like her or himself. She or he may be moody or sad, or may not want to go out with friends. Emotional health issues can result in feelings of intense shame or guilt which causes depression. Depression is common among bulimics mainly due to the constant drive to be successful or need to fit in with today’s society. Depressing thoughts or feelings can trigger one to binge eat and then feel the immediate guilt after consuming the food. Forcing the food to leave one’s body, either done by vomiting or use of laxatives, will momentarily provide the individual with happiness until the cycle repeats itself. Once this cycle is continued repeatedly, it is impossible to resort back to a normal, healthy diet plan without the assistance of professional treatment. The pattern of bulimia is both dangerous and serious. If the problem is not addressed, “unhealthy eating behaviors can continue for many years before a person seeks treatment,” (Archives of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, 4). Treatment for bulimia consists of psychological counseling and often antidepressants, to treat the patient’s