Bulimia Nervosa: Understanding Symptoms and Treatment Options

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Bulimia Nervosa: Understanding Symptoms and Treatment Options

Everybody's daily routine has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bulk of the population suddenly started working from home as a result of stay-at-home directives and quarantine recommendations taking center stage. And during this time a term that took all attraction was Bulimia Nervosa. Behavioral health disorders affect people from all walks of life. Similarly, Bulimia Nervosa is also one such that does not discriminate based on race, color, gender, or identity, just as mental health illnesses.

Disordered eating behaviors are a part of the serious and occasionally fatal mental health illness known as Bulimia Nervosa. Binge eating and other weight-controlling habits are both used by people with bulimia as a coping mechanism (compensatory behaviors, like purging). These actions are affected in part by having a negative body image or being too concerned with weight.

Due to feelings of shame or guilt over their actions, people with bulimia, like those who have other eating disorders, frequently keep their illness a secret. They could go to considerable measures to conceal their symptoms, making it possible for family members and friends to miss the warning signals of a problem.

Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa  

In order to quit binge eating  and properly recover from bulimia, it is essential to understand why you are doing it. The signs and symptoms of bulimia can be physical, behavioral, and emotional.

Physical Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa  

Due to the distinctive pattern of dental erosion, which is most noticeable on the internal surface of the teeth, dentists are frequently the first healthcare professionals to identify symptoms of self-induced vomiting in bulimia nervosa patients. 

Oral health issues aren't the only physical sign of bulimia, though people could also go through:

  • Red Eyes
  • Calluses on the back of the hand
  • Chest pains
  • Chronic bouts of constipation (resulting from laxative abuse)
  • Electrolyte imbalances and dehydration
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lightheadedness or loss of balance (may experience fainting)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Stomach aches
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Swollen glands and roundness in the jaw area
  • Tooth cavities
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Vomiting blood
  • Yellowing, graying, spotted, or decaying teeth

Behavioral Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa  

The behavioral indicators listed here are the ones that friends and family members observe the most frequently.

  • Establishing routines or rituals that permit binge eating and cleansing.
  • A burning desire to work out notwithstanding how it interferes with other activities.
  • Storing food, stealing food, and consuming a lot of food at once are all indications of binge eating.
  • Evidence of purging, such as the need to constantly use the restroom, the desire to take a shower after eating, or the presence of laxative or diuretic products.
  • Exercising a set amount in order to "burn off" the calories consumed during extreme eating behaviors (strict dieting followed by overeating).
  • Worn-out appearance
  • Talking about weight, calories, food, or dieting so much that it interferes with normal conversation.
  • Uses substances to restrict hunger, such as detox teas.

Emotional Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa  

  • Depression
  • Extreme irritability
  • Extremely self-critical
  • Feeling out of control
  • Mood swings
  • Self-esteem, self-worth, or attractiveness determined by appearance and weight
  • Strong need for approval

Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa  

Medication, nutritional therapy, intensive outpatient or inpatient care, outpatient psychotherapy, and/or dietary intervention are frequently used to treat bulimia. Bulimia is a chronic illness that needs to be continually watched for. Even after a protracted period of recovery, it's crucial to keep an eye out for relapse warning signals, especially under stressful circumstances. 

Three forms of psychotherapy that are often helpful in the treatment of bulimia include:  

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Family-based treatment (FBT)


Many people with bulimia get better with treatment and go on to lead healthy lives. Treatment for bulimia is essential to enabling the body to heal, even if it will take time. It is crucial to comprehend that having an eating disorder is completely normal and that assistance is available.

Know the symptoms if bulimia runs in your family so you can identify the issue early. Early intervention helps change harmful eating habits before they become more difficult to change.

We can help if you're worried that you or a loved one could have an eating disorder. Take the first step to protecting your well-being by talking to our healthcare provider at Solh Wellness.