Bulimia nervosa can feel like you have control one moment and then no control the next. Bulimia is characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating, which is almost always followed by some form of purge including isolated experiences of self- induced vomiting, over exercise, cheat days, laxative use, substance use, or another behavior that helps one feel better around food. Guilt and shame are commonly experienced after these episodes. Although this is a very difficult cycle to break, we can help you find stability, even when you think there isn’t any. There is hope!
Bulimia-related experiences include:
- Feeling out of control around food.
- Feeling the need to get rid of what you have consumed (via purging)
- Feeling like you have a love/hate relationship with food.
- Hiding behaviors including purging.
- Difficulty with mood regulation, including experiencing anger and/or heightened irritability
How do I know when I need help?
If you are purging through self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, laxatives, or diuretics, you need and deserve support.
Body image is an obsessive concern.
If you experience and are preoccupied by body image difficulties such as feeling too fat or too full, we can explain the biological reasons why body image becomes a problem.
Control is something you don’t want to give up.
Bulimia often feels like an abusive relationship. One minute you feel great. The next minute, you’re in a cycle of pain. You don’t know why it is happening. You rely on behaviors to bring you back to equilibrium.
Bulimia can feel like an addiction.
YES! In fact, the same neural pathways in the brain that are utilized by addiction are present with bulimia. This can leave you feeling stuck, angry, and disappointed. It can be a self-defeating cycle.
Emotions feel unpredictable and intense.
Most people develop a tolerance threshold (or window of tolerance) when it comes to emotions. When there is a strong sense of dissatisfaction, you may not be confident you can overcome the disorder. People with bulimia also often experience low self-worth and continued discomfort with physical and mental well-being.
If this sounds familiar, contact us for a consultation. We know how to help.
Symptoms of Binge Eating include:
- Eating much more food in a single episode than in a typical meal or snack
- Feeling that eating can’t be controlled once a binge begins
- Hiding or hoarding food
- Making excuses for missing food, or money taken to pay for binge foods
- Eating until the point of physical discomfort or pain
Symptoms of Purging include:
- Habitually going to the bathroom immediately after eating or during meals
- Damaged teeth and gums
- Swollen salivary glands in the cheeks (chipmunk cheeks)
- Persistent sores in the throat and mouth
- Sores, scars or calluses on the knuckles or hands caused by self-induced vomiting
- Scratchy or raspy voice quality
- Misuse of ipecac syrup to induce vomiting