One of the most dangerous eating and psychological disorders is undoubtedly bulimia. This is often confused with anorexia, however, although many patients can have both disorders, it is important to differentiate them.

What is bulimia?

As already mentioned, bulimia is an eating and psychological disorder . This consists of the large intake of, usually, junk food in a short period of time . Bulimic people eat uncontrollably and cannot stop. There is also what is called bulimia nervosa .

However, once they are completely full, they begin to feel guilt, shame, and other negative emotions. This leads them to adopt compensatory behaviors to avoid gaining fat and gaining weight. For this reason, they resort to laxatives, enemas, induce vomiting or perform strenuous physical activity.

All this, in order to burn the fat and calories that could be obtained after the binge of food . Likewise, it is common for people with bulimia to fast, eat less, smoke cigarettes, and engage in other unhealthy behaviors after these binges in order to lose weight.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa, for its part, is also an eating and psychological disorder , however, it manifests itself in a different way. In this case, people with anorexia feel a real fear of gaining weight, which is why, many times, they stop eating.

In anorexia nervosa, people eat little or nothing instead of eating and vomiting for fear of gaining weight. That is why it is so dangerous, since patients with anorexia can fall into malnutrition without realizing the severity of their condition.

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

On the other hand, there is also another disorder, which is perhaps a little less known, but it is equally important to know it to differentiate it from bulimia. Similar to bulimic people, patients with binge eating disorder tend to eat large amounts of food in a short time.

After eating food, there is a feeling of guilt, however, they do not try to apply the compensatory behaviors that in bulimia they do . Therefore, people with this disorder only binge, feel guilty, but do not seek to purge so as not to gain weight.

How to differentiate bulimia from what is not?

Therefore, to differentiate bulimia from what is not, it is important to take into account its main characteristics:

  • Uncontrolled ingestion of junk food in a short period of time.
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, and regret.
  • Fear of gaining weight and accumulating fat.
  • Adoption of compensatory behaviors to avoid gaining weight (laxatives, induced vomiting, enemas, diuretics, high intensity physical exercise …)

Bulimia is quite a dangerous disorder and it can have many negative consequences for people who suffer from it. Due to the unhealthy behaviors and behaviors that bulimics adopt, the following complications may occur:

  • Dehydration
  • Dysphonia.
  • Erosions in the esophagus.
  • Esophageal or gastric rupture.
  • Problems in the mouth such as injuries to the oral mucosa, cavities, gingivitis, infection in the salivary glands.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia .
  • Dry skin and hair loss.
  • Weakness in the legs, dizziness and frequent fainting.
  • Low potassium levels.
  • Sterility, amenorrhea or alterations in menstruation.
  • Aspiration of gastric contents.

Therefore, it is vitally important that people with this disorder receive treatment as soon as possible. However, in many cases it is difficult to realize that someone has this problem, so treatment usually starts late. The sooner the problem is treated, the better the prognosis for the patient .

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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