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Bulimia Nervosa: Just The Facts

Young people with bulimia often go for long periods of time restricting their food intake.

In some cases even starving themselves. This is followed by episodes of ‘binge eating’ and then ‘purging’. Binge eating is when people eat a large amount of food in a short space of time or when people feel out of control when eating. People usually ‘binge’ in secret and often feel low, ashamed or guilty afterwards.  Following binge eating people affected by bulimia can feel anxious and will try to get rid of the food and the calories they contain by ‘purging’.  There are different ways that people ‘purge’ and this can be by vomiting, using laxatives, or doing too much exercise. Quite quickly young people affected by bulimia can become trapped in this cycle.

Bulimia is not just about food, it is about feelings and emotions too and it may be used to cope with stress and painful feelings. Sometimes bulimia can make its way into people’s lives when there is significant stress or emotional upset. People experiencing Bulimia often have worries about their body image, their body shape or size, or the way they look.

Just like anorexia, bulimia is a serious illness. This can affect both young women and young men and has serious consequences for physical health and emotional wellbeing.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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