Bulimia in Teens

Bulimia is defined as an eating disorder involving uncontrolled episodes of overeating also called bingeing. Bingeing means consuming larger amount of food than one would normally consume in a relatively short span of time. The patient often feels powerless to stop these recurrent episodes of binge eating. Purging is what comes next, when the patient tries to lose the weight unnaturally through vomiting, consecutive fasting, abnormal use of laxatives and the likes.  

This whole process occurs repetitively in the form of binge-purge cycles in short intervals. Teenage girls and boys are most vulnerable to bulimia but it can affect at any age. People with a history of familial eating disorders or other mental health problems have a higher risk of falling prey to this psychological disorder. 

Causes of Bulimia 

Causes of Bulimia vary from person to person as per his specific conditions. Normally, a mixture of personality traits, biological and environmental factors along with thinking patterns contribute in causing the disorder. The common ground found between most patients is their dissatisfaction with their bodies and abnormal concern for its size and shape. In addition of inheriting the disorder, other factors include depression and anxiety issues, stress and substance abuse. 

Symptoms and Diagnosis 

Just like causes, the symptoms of bulimia are also subjective. Normally, change in body is accompanied by change in behavior. But the tricky part is that in bulimia patients do not lose weight drastically so it requires keen observation to diagnose it. Some of the symptoms are 

  • Swollen Glands 
  • Indigestion issues like heart burn and bloating. 
  • Sleep disorders 
  • Irregular Periods 
  • Frequent weight gain, loss issues 
  • Weakness, feeling tired all the time 
  • Excessive fasting, exercise 
  • Depression and anxiety 

Bulimia is diagnosed by taking a number of measures as per the conditions of the patient. Usually after a physical exam, the doctor take notes of the patient’s eating habits and weight variations. Blood and urine tests follow along with psychological evaluation. In psychological evaluation, patient’s attitude toward his body and weight are focused.  

Treatment of Bulimia 

There is no one single treatment for bulimia. Usually, the treatment is a culmination of several types of treatments. Individual therapy is combined with family therapy in most cases with appropriate coordination. This team approach works towards changing the behavior of the patient in addition to rectifying any nutritional abnormalities. 

Teen bulimia treatment is usually more cautious in its approach. Nutritional education is focused along with medication in most instances with focus on developing healthy eating habits. Recent studies have shown that the combined application of anti-depressants and psychotherapy is the most effective way to reduce symptoms of bulimia in teens. Though bulimia is usually treated outside the hospitals, in severe cases the patient may need to be hospitalized to counter serious health complications. 

Recurrent symptoms are somewhat common in many cases where the patient though recovered may exhibit some symptoms every now and then. It is necessary to look out for these recurrences and keep in touch with your doctor and dietitian to stop it from getting out of control. 

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