Bulimia Nervosa

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What causes Bulimia?

Bulimia is more than just a problem with food. A binge can be set off by dieting or stress. Painful emotions, like anger or sadness, also can bring on binging. Purging is how people with bulimia try to gain control and to ease stress and anxiety. There is no single known cause of bulimia, but the following factors might play a role:

  • Culture
    • Women in the U.S. are under constant pressure to be very thin. This "ideal" is not realistic for most women. But seeing images of flawless, thin females everywhere can make it hard for women to feel good about their bodies. More and more, men are also feeling pressure to have a perfect body.
  • Families
    • It is likely that bulimia runs in families. Many people with bulimia have sisters or mothers with bulimia. Parents who think looks are important, diet themselves, or judge their children's bodies are more likely to have a child with bulimia.
  • Life changes or stressful events
    • Traumatic events like rape can lead to bulimia. So can stressful events like being teased about body size.
  • Psychology
    • Having low self-esteem is common in people with bulimia. People with bulimia have higher rates of depression. They may have problems expressing anger and feelings. They might be moody or feel like they can't control impulsive behaviors.
  • Biology
    • Genes, hormones, and chemicals in the brain may be factors in getting bulimia.

Other Useful links about Bulimia

  • Bulimia Nervosa Overview
    • Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder associated with binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors used to prevent weight gain. Read more about Bulimia Nervosa.
  • What happens to your body with Bulimia?
    • Read about what happens to your body with Bulimia. See what happens with such things as hair, your muscles and joints, skin, hormones, and intestines with bulimia.
  • Who becomes Bulimic?
    • An estimated 1.1 percent to 4.2 percent of females have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. Read more about.who becomes bulimic.
  • What are the signs of Bulimia
    • A person with bulimia may be thin, overweight, or normal weight. This makes it hard to know if someone has bulimia. But there are warning signs of bulimia to look out for.
  • Prognosis and Treatment for Bulimia
    • Read about Bulimia treatment, which may include individual therapy, family therapy, neurofeedback or medicine.
  • What should I do if I think someone I know has Bulimia?
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