ACPN | UAE ACPN | UAE

800-[ACPN]2276

Bulimia Nervosa

What is Bulimia Nervosa? Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretics or over-exercising designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating. It's important to note these methods are very dangerous, completely ineffective in calorie removal and with time promote weight gain.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes.
  • Purging after a binge, typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting.
  • Frequent diets and or very restrictive eating habits.
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape. 
  • Self-esteem overly related to body image.

The chance for recovery increases the earlier bulimia nervosa is detected. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the warning signs of bulimia nervosa.

 

Health Consequences of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa can be extremely harmful to the body. The recurrent binge-and-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.

Some of the health consequences:

  • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death. Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium from the body as a result of purging behaviors.
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
  • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
  • Gastric rupture is an uncommon but possible side effect of binge eating.

Who gets it?

  • Lifetime prevalence of bulimia nervosa around 2% for females and 0.5% for males
  • Approximately 80% of bulimia nervosa patients are female.
  • People struggling with bulimia nervosa usually appear to be of average body weight: not because of the compensatory behaviours (self-induced vomitting,..) but because of the severe food restriction between binges
  • Many people struggling with bulimia nervosa recognize that their behaviors are unusual and perhaps dangerous to their health.
  • Bulimia nervosa is frequently associated with symptoms of depression and changes in social adjustment.
  • Risk of death from suicide or medical complications is markedly increased for eating disorders

What causes it?

There is no one cause of bulimia, however biological, psychological and sociocultural factors contribute to the development of this condition:

Genetics: More than 50 percent of the risk of developing an eating disorder is based on genetics, underscoring a strong familial component to these illnesses.

Personality predispositions: a distinct set of personality traits has been found to be common among those at highest risk for bulimia. Traits like the following tend to characterize those struggling with bulimia and other eating disorders:

  • Impulsivity
  • Low self-directedness
  • High harm avoidance
  • Difficulty seeing the “big picture”
  • Rigidity

A culture obsessed with body image: The larger cultural narrative around dieting, binge eating and obesity is a prominent sociocultural factor influencing the development of binge eating disorder.

How is it treated?

At ACPN, our trained multi-disciplinary team provides evidence-based treatments based on Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT-E) . CBT-E is a special kind of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) developed by Prof Christopher Fairburn (Oxford University) that is specifically designed to treat the Eating Disorders

With proper treatment, a full and lasting recovery is possible. The ACPN has the only specialized program in the U.A.E. dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders, like Bulimia Nervosa.

Multi Disciplinary Team

Carine el Khazen Hadati
Carine el Khazen Hadati

Clinical Psychologist, Director of ED Program

Dubai

View Clinician
Maya Fleifel Sidani
Maya Fleifel Sidani

Clinical Psychologist

Dubai

View Clinician
Hala Abu Taha
Hala Abu Taha

Dietitian

Abu Dhabi and Dubai

View Clinician
Dr. George Sawers
Dr. George Sawers

General Practitioner

Abu Dhabi

View Clinician
Dr. Najwan Al-Roubaiy
Dr. Najwan Al-Roubaiy

Psychologist, Acting Head of Psychology Team - Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

View Clinician
Dr. Junaid Hassim
Dr. Junaid Hassim

Clinical Psychologist

Abu Dhabi

View Clinician
Dr. Samra Tahir
Dr. Samra Tahir

Clinical Psychologist

Abu Dhabi

View Clinician
Dr. Samer Makhoul
Dr. Samer Makhoul

Consultant Psychiatrist, Head of Psychiatry Department

Dubai and Abu Dhabi

View Clinician
Dr. Nasser El Hindy
Dr. Nasser El Hindy

Consultant Psychiatrist, Medical Director

Dubai

View Clinician
Make an appointment

For better website experience please use modern browsers like Chrome, FF or IE10+

Ok

For better web experience, please use the website in portrait mode