Individuals who participate in dangerous bulimic behaviors put their health, and their very lives, at risk. The recurrent binge/purge cycles can damage the entire digestive system and purging behaviors can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions.
Denial and resistance can be contributing factors to the gravity of this illness. Eating disorder sufferers often deny many things: They deny they are ill. They deny they are thin and even that they want to be thin. They deny they are afraid of weight gain, or that they are distressed and tired. They may deny specific behaviors such as vomiting and laxative abuse. They deny or are unaware of their feelings and the psychological issues impacting their eating disorder. They most often minimize physical symptoms. The health consequences of bulimia can be dangerous and life-threatening and require attention by experienced professionals in eating disorder treatment.
The following Physiological Characteristics and Bulimia Medical Complications are common patterns that are often seen in individuals with bulimia:
Physiological Characteristics & Medical Complications
- Weight fluctuations with body weight below, at, or above normal range due to alternative bingeing and fasting
- Potential heart arrhythmia and irregularities related to electrolyte imbalance
- Swollen glands, puffiness around the face, and burst blood vessels in eyes
- Edema (swelling due to retention of body fluids), possible impaired renal function
- Chemical imbalance caused by low potassium (and sodium) which can produce dehydrations, muscular fatigue, cardiac rhythm irregularities, cardiac arrest
- Abdominal pain, esophageal or gastric dilation or rupture, non-responsive bowel
- Tooth decay and gum erosion from regurgitated stomach acids, enlarged salivary glands
Click here to take our online quiz to see if you are living a lifestyle that shows Bulimic tendencies.
The good news is that for the majority of people with eating disorders, a return to good health and well-being is possible. Full recovery is possible. Eating disorder treatment providers know that recovery takes time, support, and hard work but with the right interventions, those who suffer with bulimia can be on the road to a healthier, happier, more balanced life. Bulimia Treatment options range from outpatient services (therapy and dietary), day (PHP) and evening (IOP) programs, residential treatment (RTC) and inpatient hospitalization — depending on the needs of the patient and the severity of the illness. At Center for Change we offer all of these levels of care in order to provide the most appropriate options and meet the needs of our patients. To learn more about our treatment program for Bulimia Nervosa or to schedule a free assessment, call 888-224-8250.