Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder which affects the mental health of sufferers. It is characterised by a need for sufferers to control their weight. They massively restrict the amount of food they eat over a period of time and then have a binge eating episode. This is followed by purging i.e. the sufferers force themselves to be sick or take laxatives to ensure they rid their body of the food.
Sufferers have an abnormal way of looking at their body image and their diet. They control their diet, up until a point, and then lose control, resulting in a binge episode. Fear and anxiety over the food they have eaten, and their intake of calories, results in them trying to regain control. This is when the purging begins. After purging, sufferers often have feelings of shame and disgust which brings the binge-purge cycle back to their strict dieting regime. The binge-purge cycle is detrimental to both physical and mental health.
Sufferers are often very secretive. However, signs such as going to the bathroom after meals, alternation between over-eating and fasting, and the disappearance of food can all be signs. Bulimia Nervosa affects the body in many ways including problems with the stomach, decaying teeth (from vomiting), swollen cheeks and possible chronic constipation (from the use of laxatives). As well as physical problems, it can also lead to psychological issues such as depression.