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Bulimia Nervosa: A Deadly Disease: What Is Bulimia Nervosa? What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

With the darkest of my thoughts transferred to written words at times I can see the light.

A Deadly Seductive Illness

Lost and Alone

Lost and Alone

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder linked to poor body image; the main symptom being binge eating followed by vomiting. This type of binge eating is off the scale when it comes to binges. Often evolving from binging to gorging on huge amounts of food over many hours with repetitive vomiting. This is a very dangerous disease and not to be confused with overeating.

There may be numerous metal health issues under the surface. For example: Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder. The person may also suffer with extreme anxiety, stress and panic attacks. Bulimia nervosa may carry on from anorexia nervosa. Starving leading to binge eating then purging. Another awful circle of a type of self harming.

Bulimia is a very secretive disease affecting all ages and genders. It is extremely difficult to recognize symptoms of bulimia, unlike anorexia, a bulimic person doesn't necessarily suffer dramatic weight loss. Awareness of the disease is more commonly known among adolescent girls. A secret disease is never easy to define let alone discover. Bulimia is a dangerous and seductive illness; once in the clutches of bulimia nervosa it is very difficult to escape.

Possible Side-effects

A person suffering with bulimia will consume large quantities of high calorie foods over a period that may last hours. They will make themselves vomit to rid their body of the food. This ritual of overeating and purging may be every day, a few times a day or several times a week. The person may use their fingers or an object to make themselves vomit. They may take vomit inducing medication, laxatives or diuretics. A person suffering with bulimia will go to disturbing lengths to empty their stomach, once their binge is over; tying a belt tightly around their middle; beating their stomach with their fists and drinking lots of water are among a few examples that go hand in hand with sticking their fingers down thieir troat. Excessive exercising may also be part of the ritual.The consequences of this disease are terrifying. The constant vomiting and pill popping causes awful affects to the body. The person may suffer from:

  • Tooth decay
  • Stained teeth
  • Chronic digestive problems
  • Swollen stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Ruptured stomach
  • Swollen glands
  • Ruptured esophagus
  • Bowel problems
  • Organ failure

The acid from the stomach which is used to aid digestion seriously damages the throat and mouth tissue. The constant strain put on the body by forcing food back up the esophagus is horrendous. The swelling caused to the throat glands and the stomach is evidence of the pressure the body suffers. The pills only add to bowel and digestive problems.

This disease is a like an infection; a festering wound. Don't be in any doubt: Bulimia nervosa is a killer.

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

You must realise that bulimia nervosa is an illness. The person suffering with this awful disease has lost control of what is a normal relationship with food. Binge eating is out of their control; once they start they can't stop. Binge eating may last a couple of hours, followed by purging. Whether the individual is disgusted with themselves for stuffing their bodies with so much food is very much down to the individual. There are those that plan it; knowing no one will be home, that they can enjoy their binge without inturuption. They may have a secret stash of high calorie foods and know exactly when they will binge.

Then there are those that will shop at different supermarkets or corner stores to buy their calorific goodies without causing suspicion. Don't think for one minute that all sufferers of this awful disease are weak minded; their secrets and lies are almost foolproof. That's why the person with bulimia is so difficult to out. They are very clever and very susupicious of everyone, hence their secretive ways. They also have a tendency to be very private about everything and don't like to be hugged or touched. While a poor body image and not wanting to gain weight certainly plays it's part there are other triggers that may set a person on the path to bulimia nervosa. For example: mental state, peer pressure, obsessiveness, a major incident at home/school/work. A drastic change in their daily lives: a divorce; an illness; a new baby; a new step parent or brother or sister; a death; school or house move.


  • Long periods in the bathroom
  • Always locking doors (bathroom/bedroom)
  • Excessive showering
  • Going to the bathroom after eating
  • A strong smell of air freshener or deodorant in the bathroom
  • Running water in the bathroom to drown out sounds
  • Playing music to drown out sounds
  • Large amounts of food go missing; yet no wrappers in the bin
  • Eating large portions of food one day and very little the next day
  • Saving up treats
  • Buying excessive amounts of high calorie foods
  • Excessive brushing of teeth, use of mouth wash or mints
  • Canceling appointments at the last minute
  • Being secretive
  • Wanting to be home alone
  • Avoiding contact (kissing)
  • Listless
  • Short tempered
  • Nervous
  • Tearful


  • Puffy cheeks
  • Swollen eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Burst veins in the eyes
  • Nose bleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarse throat
  • Thinning hair
  • Bad skin
  • Welts on the fingers and knuckles (pay attention)
  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • Welts at the corner of the mouth

This disease is the enemy of every single individual body. It takes and it destroys. To understand this horrid and soul destroying illness is almost incomprehensible. That's the worst about disease; there is no understanding.

Bulimia nervosa is a daunting and horrific illness. The longer the sufferer lives with bulimia the more they embrace it as part of who they are. Is it possible to understand this disease? Is it possible to understand a person who suffers with this disease? That's a difficult and individual task. Being aware: that's possible.

Can bulimia nervosa be cured? First the disease must be diagnosed by a professional. Once diagnosed a sufferer has a very long and difficult road to recovery ahead of them. Many sufferers may not want to get better. They are addicted to purging. Like any addict, admitting the problem is only the beginning, without admittance there will never be an end.

The biggest battle begins with prevention. No matter how busy your life, know what's happening in your loved one's lives. You'll never forgive yourself should bulimia nervosa steel into the mind of a loved one with every intention to covet.

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You need to see! You need to care! You need to be aware! Stop Bulimia Nervosa Now!

If You Need Help: Talk to Me!

If you're reading this, and you'd like to talk or email you can contact me privately through HubPages and I promise you, I will help you no matter what. I always keep a promise and I will listen and I will be there without judgement. Sometimes you need someone :) I can be that someone; I'm here for you :) Let's just talk!

If you are too embarrassed or just don't want to talk about it or maybe you're sick to death of talking about it, I urge you to buy the book below: The Bulimia Help Method. There are many things to learn from this book and your recovery might be closer than you think.

© 2011 Gabriel Wilson


Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on July 23, 2015:

Hello, it's good to meet you. Firstly I must tell you that bulimia distorts our prespective of what we really look like. Often we think we look fat when infact we're not at all. Being a long distance runner you need energy and energy is carbs, however eating a huge meal at night is not a good idea. Eat smaller meals and snacks through your day. Bring rice and/or pasta salads to school for your lunch. This will stop you feeling so hungry that you eat too much at night. Make a veggie omelette for supper with a fruit salad to follow or a veggie stry fry with noodles and a small bowl of ice cream or similar light meals.

What I'm saying is: eat regularly through the day and light at night. I think you're bingeing also because you're starving yourself during the day. The first thing we have to do is stop you bingeing. Regular healthy snacks, a good breakfast, a healthy lunch and a light supper is where we must start. Veggie sticks, fruit, rice or oat cakes, nuts are good healthy snacks. Make smoothies and soups (you'll find plenty of healthy recipes on this site) to help keep you feeling full without feeling guilty about eating.

You've taken a big step asking for advice and you are very brave to do that. You must keep busy, take your mind off bingeing. It's not going to be easy but you can do it. Stop starving yourself during the day, It's crucial you stop this.

I want you to look around you during your day. I want you to observe other girls. What do you see? All shapes and all sizes. There is no such thing as perfection, because we are all different and what is perfect to one person is not to another. I also want you to look in the mirror and see yourself for what you are. It takes strenght to be a long distance runner. You're strong. You're young. You want to get on with your life. You are a capable and clever young girl. Bulimia is a horrid disease and all it does is pretend to be your friend while slowly distroying everything you can be.

You feel disgusted because you've binged, that's a normal reaction. It's the act that makes you feel like this. You're sluggish and tired because of not eating during the day. We know how to solve this.

Let us see how we get on from here ok. One day at a time.

----- on July 23, 2015:


I am a 15 yr old girl , and i have been bulimic for the past few months. It all started with a stressful experience where I ate some chicken and felt extremely guilty later on. After that., I used vomiting as a way to get rid of excess calories because I had gained a few kilos after I wasn't allowed to run regularly after I injured myself through overtraining. Also, I began to feel extremely guilty whenever I ate animal products for some strange reason. Because of this, I tried out a vegan diet. Initially, this helped me stop vomiting for a while, but now I have started again- During the day, I survive on mainly fruits and veggies, and in the night, after I come back from a long run, I eat more fruit and veggies, but I also crave carbohydrates and lots of fat in the form of bread, potatoes, vegan biscuits, nuts ,oats etc. After I eat a massive night meal ( to the point of extreme abdominal discomfort), I usually feel extremely guilty, and I force myself to vomit it all up. The only things I don't seem to vomit out are fruits and veggies. Recently, I have noticed that my stomach is quite protrudent, and I feel disgusting, sluggish and tired all the time. Nowadays, I only get around 6 hrs of sleep each night because I have a very busy lifetyle, and this vomiting habit is causing me to waste 1 hr + each day!!!! I feel as though this bit is really impacting on my school studies, and also my running ( I am a long distance runner). I really need help as I don't want this stupid habit to consume my life. I hate being so self conscious and I just want to focus on actually living out a proper life!!!! I hate being so fat, ugly and incapable. Can you please give me some advice?

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on July 22, 2015:

Hello Wandering. I am so sorry you are fighting this fight. I can only ask you to try and take one day at a time. One day: get through one day. Wake up and fight that one day, don't think about tomorrow, just today. Like it was the last day and there will never be another day.

You will have to get out of your house: keep away from your bathroom. You need to distance yourself from the control bulimia has over you. Bulimia needs basic's: food, bathroom, time. Distance yourself from these things. Don't buy attractive foods, keep basic foods to start with, fruit and veg. You will find it difficult to binge on these foods. Avoid being home as much as possible. Bulimia is comfortable at home behind closed doors with a bathroom at hand. You must make commitments to keep you busy, be as busy as you can be. Volunteer work can be rewarding. But keep busy, time is bulimia's best friend. You must be busy. Do things that are challenging and need concentration. Your brain must be kept busy, distracted from thinking about bingeing.

Wake up, get dressed and get out of your house. Don't bring any money, bring something light to snack on (fruit) and just get through that one day.

If you can get through one day, you can do this. We must get you through that one day.

Wandering, I don't doubt you are depressed and laughing seems a long way away. But right now nothing is more important than one day without bingeing. Let's get through this one day Wandering... I'm here.

wandering on July 20, 2015:

I have been a daily bulimic for close to 26 years. I have lost almost all my teeth. Now I am having trouble with my kidneys. I am so depressed and have been on every antidepressent and every stimulant out there. I grieve my old self. I laugh at nothing, find no joy PLUS, I AM seeing a therapist and shrink... nothing works. I kicked alcohol for 6 years now. Why can't I stop this suicide ride?

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on June 16, 2014:

Hi Fabian, Thank you very much for leaving your comment. It is truly a damaging disease in more ways than one. I want you to know, that I sincerely think you are a very brave person, fighting againist bulimia takes courage and strenght. Everyday you get through is a milestone, two years is amazing. I wish you all the best and you are so right. It is worth it and you are worth it. Stay strong.

Fabian on June 15, 2014:

I struggled with this monster for 6 years. Ive been doing a whole lot better these last 2 years. Recovery is still a work in progress. I no longer binge and purge. The mental part takes a lot more work. Theres good days and bad. But I always remind myself its all in my head. The important thing is to focus on getting better. It always brakes my heart when I hear about somebody else struggling like that. It hits close to home and I understand how it feels. I never felt bad for myself when I was going thru fact I felt I deserved it. But ive always felt compassion for others with bulimia. If you've been there and doing better let me know. It probably has been very hard to recover. BUT IT IS WORTH IT! AND WE CAN DO IT

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on February 11, 2012:

Tanx Yuki for reading and taking time to comment.

Yuki on February 10, 2012:

Man, this has no jibber jabber and is so true and so sad. I've seen many youtube videos about easting disorders in the past and bilimia is just awful.

Thanks for writing this up.

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on March 07, 2011:

Thank you so much, to you all for your comments. I wish I could tell you that you've read the worst, but you haven't. Perhaps that's for the best... thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

phillip goodson on February 28, 2011:

wow, what that was some sad information I hope I will never see the signs of.

imranhaider on February 25, 2011:

great works

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on February 22, 2011:

This is a real education to me, I actually thought anorexia and bulimia were one and the same, or very close relatives. What a sad, sad condition, thanks for the research, and thanks for sharing it.

Eiddwen from Wales on February 17, 2011:

A great hub which sadly will be useful to many.It's really well presented and very informative.

Thank you so much for sharing

Take care


Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on February 17, 2011:

I don't believe we know the half of it. I only wish I'd known more.

Poohgranma from On the edge on February 17, 2011:

Very informative and well written.

I have a friend, now gone from alcoholism, who also suffered from this insidious killer. He would do anything to stay "slim." His dentist was the first to discover what he was doing. So sad, these disorders and so very hard to treat.

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