A person suffering from bulimia may have dysfunctional thoughts such as: “I am fat”, “I fail to lose weight”, “nobody likes me”, “I don’t succeed to lose weight no matter what I do”, “I cannot help myself but eat”, “I am greedy”, “if I don’t eat I get dizzy”, “I am disgusting”, “I am hideous”, “I’m fat and ugly”, “no man will ever like me, therefore it is better to give up and do not bother with losing weight anymore”.
At the perception level, people who are bulimic will see themselves fat compared with other people and they will feel guilty whenever they eat.
At the behavioral level, bulimics will ingest large amounts of ”forbidden” foods from many food categories in a single meal, until they feel pain in their stomach. After that, they will vomit all the food they just ate. This usually happens at home, in secret, away from the eyes of others. Sometimes it happens at a party or restaurant but it is difficult to hide the excessive eating and the effort to vomit. Another behavior is the usage of laxatives, purgatives, diuretics to prevent food intake and weight gain.
Attitudes of Bulimic Women
The specific attitudes of bulimia are the lack of control and guilt. Lack of control is manifested in binge eating behavior (impulsive and unruly). The feeling that things get out of control extends to other areas of life. Work relationships are under the rule of dominance-submission; the boss will dominate the bulimic women. In personal relationships, self-image is affected, and the bulimic woman feels inferior to her partner, accepting compromise. The resulting tension is not manifested on the outside but can be relieved as self-aggression, self-punishment, and guilt. To balance the situation and to calm herself/himself, the person needs intense thrills given by: overeating, intensely flavored and spicy foods, alcohol, drugs, extreme sports, transient or promiscuous sex, or excessive spending.
Bulimia affects mainly women, usually with a modest material situation, from rural areas, where food plays an important role. However, men can also suffer from bulimia, which is not always accompanied by vomiting.
The need behind the bulimia behavior is for appreciation and love. Any rejection or reproach can cause a voltage that can be temporarily quenched by excessive eating. Rejection can generate a strong inner pain that can be calmed with stronger sensations, and immediate satisfactions. They do not think of themselves as persons, they always blame themselves for their failures or others; they punish themselves or accept to be punished believing that it is only their fault.
Family history is an important vulnerability factor: usually, people come from a family environment loaded with tension, divorce of parents, quarrels, violence, alcohol, sexual or emotional abuse, humiliation, and physical aggression. Following these experiences, children are tought that they are not worth a dime and nourish the feeling of guilt.
In order to capture the attention and love of their parents, these children become more exposed, better behaved, more active in the housekeeping, or more humble. They latter realize that it doesn`t matter how good they are, because their parents are only interested in noticing only their children’s mistakes: “You cannot do anything right” is the frequent parent response.
Other possible associated disorders: Bulimia is most commonly associated with depression and borderline personality or the dependent personality type.
There is no home treatment; bulimia patients need hospitalization and careful monitoring combined with psychotherapy.
5 Signs of Bulimia in Kids
Kids who have bulimia are not attempting to starve themselves. Instead they will binge on large amounts of food and then attempt to purge it from their systems either by secretly inducing vomiting or through the use of laxatives. They have a distorted vision of their body and view themselves as fat. You as a parent should be aware of the warning signs that your child may have an eating disorder and those signs that require immediate treatment to avoid the complications associated with this disorder.
5 Warning Signs
These first 5 signs are simply warning signs and are not a definitive sign that your child suffers from an eating disorder. If your child is exhibiting these symptoms you may need to take a closer look and start paying very close attention to what your child eats and what they are doing after they eat.
- Are foods disappearing from your pantry? Be aware of what you have in your pantry and how quickly it is disappearing.
- Your child may become anxious in regards to meals. They may begin to avoid eating at your house stating they ate at a friend’s house and then later be raiding your pantry for large amounts of snack foods.
- You find multiple food wrappings in your child’s room that have been hidden or stashed in odd places.
- Your child begins to disassociate themselves from close family and friends preferring to isolate themselves at mealtimes.
- Your child becomes extremely preoccupied with their weight and begins to exercise harder and more frequently than before.
5 Concrete Signs
These symptoms should trigger that your child has or is developing an eating disorder that requires attention.
- After eating your child retreats to the bathroom for long periods of time and emerge with the smell of toothpaste or sour smell of emesis on their breath.
- You discover laxatives, diuretics or the empty packages of these medications in your child’s belongings or the trash.
- Your child acts out towards you, becoming anxious, edgy or defensive at any mention of a possible problem.
- Unusual symptoms of illness such as sore throat, problems with their mouth or teeth or a usual response to cold temperatures. Your child may begin to appear sickly and ill looking.
- An obsession with their appearance or weight begins to emerge. Weighing themselves more frequently, making statements that they are fat while looking in the mirror more frequently. Over exercising in an effort to thin down when they are not overweight.
Signs of Bulimia are Well Hidden
Kids, like adults will quickly learn to hide the signs that they are binging and purging. They will be as sneaky as necessary to keep anyone from discovering this secret. You as a parent need to become just as sneaky to ensure that your child is not suffering from an eating disorder or to get them the treatment needed if they are. If your child suspects that you suspect they have an eating disorder they will improve their methods of hiding this disorder. You will need to improve your methods of finding the symptoms.