The Effects of Bulimia
“Beauty is not a state of body; it’s a state of mind”. By Anonymous. Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by episodes of binge eating and later purging to get rid of the eaten food.
Although purging is most popular among bulimics, excessive use of diet pills, laxatives and over exercising are also common. Mostly appearing in female teens, it is said to affect 2% of entire female population. There is no real cause of why people become bulimic, self esteem issues and being bullied are just some assumptions made by doctors, the effects are very real and include emotional, physical and long term health effects. To begin with, no real cause can be determined to why people become bulimic, but doctors speculate to what some triggers might be. Low self esteem issues and concerns about weight and body image play a major role in developing the disorder (Effects of Bulimia).
Eating can be considered an emotional release for binge eaters, so it is not surprising that when stressed or angry they chose to consume ridiculous amounts of food, and later in regret purge their body of the calories consumed. Bulimia also occurs with teens that are bullied or often put down by family members. Comments about appearance or weight cause teens to be conscious of how they look and often times find disappointment when looking into the mirror. Feeling not accepted at home, or being bullied at school force teens to turn to something to feel as if they could fit in better by doing that activity(Effects of Bulimia). Peer pressure by friends to stay thin increases the chances of a teen developing bulimia. Although no real cause can be determined to what causes bulimia, doctors strongly believe that it is a socially driven disorder.
The idea of perfection being thin and unnatural influences teens in a negative way, forcing them to do things that later will impact their health. On the other hand, a handful of effects of being bulimic exist. Emotional problems are just one of the many effects associated with bulimia(Effects of Bulimia). People suffering with the disorder often feel down, or feel as if they are worthless. Fear of gaining weight often controls the person and that’s what keeps them to continue their binge/purge cycle.
Once the fear is implanted in their mind, it becomes nothing more than an obsession of being thin and staying thin. Along with bad feelings, depression is common among teens suffering from bulimia. Self image issues contribute to the development of shame and anxiety in teens(Smith). When feeling bad about self body image, purging makes that person think that they are losing weight. The question of whether that way is healthy or not, is not a pressing matter because the goal at hand is to lose weight and stay skinny.
Results keep the person persistent at what they’re doing and continue to damage their body without realization. In addition to psychological impact, bulimia’s side effects can cause irreparable physical damage. A person’s normal body functions are disrupted by behavior of people with bulimia(Bulimia side effects). Most common complications include cardiovascular, dental and digestive problems. Some of the cardiovascular problems caused are rapid heart rate, irregular heart beat and chest pain.
Bulimia can even cause cardiac arrest in people who are persistent and do it often enough. Fluids and electrolyte problems, such as dehydration and low levels of potassium are evident in persons practicing purging daily. Mouth problems, including cavities, tooth enamel erosion and gum disease are only some of the problems a person with bulimia can encounter. Intestinal problems, such as constipation, irregular bowel movement, bloating and diarrhea occur among people with bulimia. Teen girls can experience irregular periods or even completely stop their cycles(Effect of Bulimia 2). The physical effects teen put themselves in danger of are not worth the struggle teens go through to achieve their perfect body image.
Not only are they putting themselves at risk, but also making their physical problems into long term health problems. Last but not least, the long term health effects from bulimia are serious and difficult to live with. Long term use of laxative or dieting pills may lead to drug dependence and adversely affect the normal bowel functions. Teeth deteriorate from the acid that is brought up from the stomach when purging. Tooth decay is common among bulimics and non reversible.
Hair and nails grow slower and aren’t as strong because of the lack of vitamins in the body. Acid reflux is one of the heavier effects of bulimia(Long Term Effects of Bulimia). Medication has to be taken continually to suppress the acid reflux, not to mention that it’s painful and uncomfortable. Scarring on the esophagus occurs and it sometimes is impossible for it to heal naturally. If too much abuse is made on the esophagus it can rapture, causing death.
It is possible to die from bulimia, many think it is just another disorder but it does have lethal consequences. Many also theorize that a long term effect of bulimia may include the difficulty of conceiving a child(Long Term Effects of Bulimia). A large risk of miscarriage and premature birth after conception are highly likely for women suffering from bulimic tendencies. Bulimia side effects damage a woman’s body which can physically inhibit her from having a healthy child in the future. The long term effects of bulimia are very real, and can stop a person from living a healthy life.
Ranging from dental health all the way to having trouble having kids in the future are not worth the pain and suffering a person goes through in order to maintain a good body image the unhealthy way. The cause of bulimia still being unknown, doctors do know now that serious health effects such as mental, physical and long term problems do exist among people with Bulimia Nervosa. Bulimia is not worth the struggle because the consequences of the eating disorder out weight the need to be thin or to fit in. Bulimia can be prevented among teen with positive feedback, and parents or peers willing to be less critical of body image. People should be able to feel good about themselves without the need to do unnatural things in order to lose weight. Bulimia is a temporary solution to a permanent problem; the problem being self image issues.
These issues can be addressed by a therapist who can allow the troubled person to find better ways on how to feel good about their body and how they look without having a life time of consequences to follow.