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What is Bulimia Nervosa? Causes, Prevention

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Bulimia is an eating disorder. People who suffer from this lose control of their eating. It starts with overeating. Next, patients try to eliminate the calories they receive for fear of obesity, which is called food Purging. Food cleansing is the last stage of the cycle.

Everything that causes stress like financial worries, health problems, and even relationship conflicts can lead to bulimia. It is a problem that affects both men and women, but according to various studies, emotional eating is slightly more common in women than men.

bulimia nervosa1 6 - What is Bulimia Nervosa? Causes, Prevention

Binge eating:

Overeating means that a person eats too much of a meal. In a way, that makes them feel bad in the end. People who overeat may feel ashamed or think that they have to hide their eating habits from others. Sometimes even family members, close friends, and spouses are unaware of this.


The cleansing phase occurs when a person tries to get rid of extra calories from overeating. Feeling ashamed of having a bad image of the body causes the person to do so. Purging may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Taking Laxatives
  • Taking diuretics
  • Fasting Exercising

Why food?

When you use eating as a mechanism to respond to emotional needs, and your first reaction to feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, stress, ‌‌ tiredness, or boredom is opening the refrigerator door. In this case, you are in an unhealthy cycle in which you will never pay attention to your real feelings or problems. Negative emotions cause a feeling of emotional emptiness in the person, and food plays a role in filling this emptiness, and the person temporarily feels full. some problems which create a cycle of nervous eating include:

  • Social impacts mean when you need emotional help from others.
  • Lack of physical activity; patients don’t involve in activities that reduce anxiety and stress.
  • They can’t understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger.
  • Changes in cortisol levels in response to stress cause nervous eating.


  • Obsession with weight
  • The fear of obesity (the fear of gaining weight, despite having a normal weight)
  • The feeling of losing control during bingeing
  • Frequent overeating with large amounts of food in one meal
  • Using laxatives, or enemas after eating
  • Fasting, restricting calories, or avoiding certain foods
  • Excessive use of dietary supplements with herbal medicines for weight loss

Complications of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia dissipates the balance of water, nutrients, and calories and threatens people’s health. Bulimia has negative and destructive effects on the body.

  • Cardiovascular problems like Irregular Heartbeat Dehydration
  • Digestive problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eyes and skin problems
  • Addicting to alcohol or drug
  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Fatigue

Bulimia Ahealthyus - What is Bulimia Nervosa? Causes, Prevention

 Nervous hunger VS Physical hunger

Nervous hunger is strong, and it may be confused with physical hunger. Some signs will help you understand the difference between them.

Nervous hunger is the tendency to eat specific foods

When you are physically hungry, whatever you find in the refrigerator seems to be great, even if it is vegetables. On the other hand, in this disease, the person tends to eat fatty food, junk food, or sweet snacks that provide by suddenly craving. You feel like you need pizza or Berger, and nothing else will do.

Emotional hunger begins suddenly

This type of hunger occurs in an instant, but physical hunger develops gradually. The urge to eat isn’t a feeling of urgency, and momentary except you haven’t eaten for a long time.

Nervous hunger often leads to eating out of control

In this case, you eat a large packet of chips or an ice cream without paying attention to the amount or even enjoying it, but when you are hungry, you usually eat consciously.

Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full

In this case, you tend to eat more and more until you feel uncomfortable and full. Despite physical hunger, when your stomach is full, you feel sufficient, and you do not need to eat too much.

Emotional hunger does not occur in the stomach

Although this type of hunger feels in the stomach, it is actually a mental craving, and you focused on certain foods, tastes, and smells.

Emotional hunger often leads to feelings of regret and shame.

When you are physically hungry, you do not feel remorse or guilt after eating because you have met the needs of your body, but if you feel uncomfortable after eating, it means that you know that your eating was not to meet the needs of the body.


Emotional hunger vs. Physical hunger
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly Physical hunger comes on gradually
Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly Physical hunger can wait
Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods Physical hunger is open to options—lots of things sound good
Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied with a full stomach. Physical hunger stops when you’re full
Emotional eating triggers feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and shame Eating to satisfy physical hunger doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself
Source: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm


How to prevent bulimia?

Bulimia does not heal with eating. Eating at the moment may calm you down, but after a while, it makes you sadder than before. This cycle does not stop until the person gets help to find the root of this mental disease. While there is no surefire way to prevent bulimia, but change eating habits can lead to healthier behaviors or effective treatment before the condition gets worse. Some of the change can include:

  1. Learn about bulimia
  2. Understanding anxiety
  3. Practicing stress management
  4. Choosing nutritious, easily digestible foods
  5. Making other healthful lifestyle choices
  6. Exercise (Try meditation)
  7. Eating regularly



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