Symptoms Of Bulimia
Symptoms Of Bulimia
Barton Blinder, MD (Clinical Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry) gives expert video advice on: Why can bulimics hide their disease better than anorexics?; What are some of the personality traits of a bulimic?; How do bulimics act around mealtime? and more...
Why can bulimics hide their disease better than anorexics?
Well, I think they can because usually they stay within 5 or 10% of normal body weight. Because their eating is such that they usually have a wider array, although they tend to have sweet and carbohydrate preference. They do tend to have a wider array of food selection so that one doesn't see things like hair falling out, extreme emaciation, changes in the color of their vitality or their paleness and so on. So it's less noticeable. In other words, you can notice it less. What is noticed often is secretive behavior, suddenly leaving the social engagement where there is eating. The individual is in the lavatory regurging it. So one can get other kinds of clues. Sometimes on the back of the hand there's a red mark from putting the finger down the throat and so on. You have to be more of a Sherlock Holmes to pick that up in bulimia. In anorexia, it stares you in the face
What are some of the personality traits of a bulimic?
The personality studies that have been published tend to show that, in contrast to anorexic patients with anorexia nervosa, who tended to be inhibited, restricted, more isolated socially in their behavior and also more conservative and more inhibited sexually in their behavior, that the young women and patients with bulimia nervosa tend to be more impulsive, more emotionally expressive, less inhibited both socially and sexually in their behavior, and tend to move more in the direction of what we call an over-dramatic, impulsive personality type. Whether this is scientifically true or not remains questionable, but the studies have shown that.
How do bulimics act around mealtime?
Usually food is eaten rapidly during the binge, less chews per swallow, which may sound like an odd way of looking, but food is literally eaten rapidly, almost gulped. Large amounts of food are eaten in a short period of time and there is really very little enjoyment during the eating. So, using the term "savouring the eating", there is very little of that in bulimics. It is sort of like a driven, desperate form of eating. A feeling of being out of control and then eating in a short period of time excessive amounts, followed by either tiredness, guilt or by the regurging behaviours or the compensatory behaviours. It is a very unusual episode; it is not the usual social eating. It is not the savouring of some delightful food that one wants. All of that kind of social pleasure or individual pleasure is gone.
How does a bulimic induce vomiting?
Some individuals have taken a vomiting stimulant called Epicac, which can be very dangerous to the heart, to invoke vomiting. Individuals put their finger down their throat, use a feather, or use a utensil. There can be very severe medical problems that result from this.
Aside from vomiting, how do bulimics purge?
Other forms of purging, in addition to vomiting, are the use of laxatives in large amounts, and also the use of water pills, or what we call medically, diuretics.
What are the most serious physical problems associated with purging?
The major issues with all of the purging is leeching out and depleting the body of its minerals like potassium, sodium and so on. Also causing nutritional deficits that later result in things such as losing your hair, changes in your skin, your nails and so on. It is not simply weight loss. The other is the idea that purging gets the food out of you, which it really doesn't because after a meal, a large percentage of the food is absorbed even before the vomiting occurs. So it is more carrying out the mental idea of doing something that was out of your control and now you are bringing about something to undo that.