My friend’s daughter is bulimic. Should she be concerned? How does bulimia damage the body?
Bulimia nervosa is a serious threat to physical and mental well-being. Bulimics usually engage in cycles of binging and purging, in which they eat great volumes of food, then try to purge it from their system by vomiting or taking laxatives.
Your friend’s daughter definitely needs treatment and the sooner, the better. The earlier she is treated, the better her chances are for a full recovery with no lasting damage to her health. Eating disorders are extremely unhealthy and can do a great deal of harm if left unchecked. While bulimia is not as dangerous as its counterpart, anorexia nervosa, it can lead to hospitalization and in rare cases, may cause or contribute to death.
Serious complications of bulimia may include dehydration, damage to the liver, kidneys and intestines, heart problems, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal problems. A bulimic may also suffer from a host of other ailments, including constipation, indigestion, swollen glands, menstrual irregularity or even vomiting blood.
Treating bulimia is usually a long-term process, but the prospects for recovery are good. Because people with eating disorders sometimes do not believe they have a problem and resist help, your friend might find it useful to talk with a doctor, therapist or support group before confronting her daughter.