Bulimia Nervosa

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What should I do if I think someone I know has Bulimia?

If someone you know is showing signs of bulimia, you may be able to help:

  • Set a time to talk
    • Find a time to talk alone with your friend. Make sure you talk in a quiet place where you won't be bothered.
  • Tell your friend about your concerns
    • Be honest. Tell your friend that you are worried about her or his not eating or exercising too much. Tell your friend that you think these things may be a sign of a problem that needs professional help.
  • Ask your friend to talk to a professional
    • Your friend can talk to a counselor or doctor who knows about eating issues. Offer to help your friend find a counselor or doctor and to make an appointment. Offer to go with her or him to the appointment.
  • Avoid conflicts
    • If your friend won't admit that she or he has a problem, don't push. Be sure to tell your friend you are always there to listen if he or she wants to talk.
  • Don't place shame, blame, or guilt on your friend
    • Don't say, "You just need to eat." Instead, say things like, "I'm concerned about you because you won't eat breakfast or lunch." Or, "It scares me to hear you throwing up."
  • Don't give simple solutions
    • Don't say, "If you'd just stop, then things would be fine!"
  • Let your friend know that you will always be there no matter what.

Adapted from "What Should I Say? Tips for Talking to a Friend Who May Be Struggling with an Eating Disorder" from the National Eating Disorders Association.

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 causes Bulimia?
    • There is no single known cause of bulimia. Some causes of bulimia include, culture, family, psychology and stressful life events or changes.
  • 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.
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