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What is it

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder.

People with bulimia get into a cycle where they overeat (binge) and then make themselves sick, do a lot of exercise or use laxatives to try to control their weight – this is sometimes called purging. For some people, bulimia is linked to feelings of being out of control in part of their lives – taking these actions might make people feel like they get some sense of control back. It can, however, be dangerous to do this and it can seriously affect your body so seeking help is really important.

Feelings and behaviours

  • Being preoccupied with (or your mind being very full of thoughts about) your weight and food
  • Binge eating large amounts of food
  • Avoiding social activities that involve food
  • Feeling out of control around food
  • Trying to control weight through purging (vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively)
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Having a sense of feeling helpless
  • Experiencing low mood
  • Losing interest in friends, family, or possessions
  • Feeling angry and guilty about bingeing and purging

Physical signs

  • Your weight noticeably fluctuating (going up and down)
  • Having stomach cramps and other digestive problems (like constipation, acid reflux, and so on)
  • A sore throat from being sick
  • Changes in periods or unable to get erection
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Feeling cold
  • Feeling tired
  • Dry skin and hair and brittle nails
  • Muscle weakness
  • Your tooth enamel becoming eroded, increased tooth sensitivity, and tooth decay
  • Having trouble sleeping getting to sleep or waking up lots

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