These Are The Essential Facts You Should Really Know About This Common Yet Often Misunderstood Eating Disorder
Battling with an eating disorder is no easy feat. Like other mental health issues, the group of illnesses is often misunderstood especially by those who aren’t suffering through patients’ struggles.
And although strides have been made in spreading awareness about the importance of addressing mental illnesses, there is still much work left to be done when it comes to destigmatizing and busting myths about disorders like bulimia.
Also known as bulimia nervosa, the illness is characterized by the sufferer’s tendency to resort to binge eat and then get rid of the food by purging it through vomiting later on. Still, it’s important to note that this isn’t always the case with all bulimic patients.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), this misconception may actually make it harder for family members to detect symptoms of bulimia in a loved one.
No Specific Age Group
Before, the demographics of bulimia patients were mostly composed of young women. But this isn’t the case today anymore. Some studies have shown that there are actually thousands of middle-aged women, who have disordered eating tendencies. Meanwhile, the belief that only young women suffer from eating disorders like bulimia ignores the plight of male sufferers.
Not About Vanity
In the media, characters, who exhibit symptoms of bulimia or anorexia, are often portrayed to be struggling with accepting the way they look and wanting to be as thin as models or celebrities.
While this may be the case for some, treatment experts have realized that the underlying issues may be more complicated. Oftentimes, a person’s illness comes as a product of numerous environmental, psychological and even genetic factors.
No Easy Solutions
Since bulimia is a complex disorder originating from complicated reasons, treating it will not be easy as well. Contrary to what some people may believe, willpower alone won’t assure that a patient will fully recover from their eating disorder. There are also studies comparing the act of bingeing and purging to addiction. Thus, these habits may be very difficult to get rid off once one gets used to them.
No One ‘Look’
Another misconception about bulimia is that its sufferers will always look thin or gaunt. In fact, experts actually say that both men and women bulimic patients are often within the normal weight range or even slightly overweight.
Anorexia is often seen as a more serious eating disorder perhaps because of the appearance of its patients. However, it’s important to know that bulimia is also taxing on one’s body and overall health. Purging techniques often result in a long list of health issues like hormonal irregularities, dental damage, sore throat and, in extreme cases, the risk of going into cardiac arrest.
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