Bulimia affects an extremely large proportion of young women and teenage girls. The specific numbers are difficult to determine because often the affliction is misdiagnosed, mistreated or not reported. Data available from the National Institute of Mental Health appears to suggest that as many as 5% of the female population will be effected by this eating disorder. Males also fall victim to bulimia although in lower proportions than females.
What these statistics mean in real numbers is that as many as 7,000,000 females and up to 1,000,000 males will be struck by bulimia.
Whatever the exact numbers are it is clear that this is not a rare eating disorder. It is rampant and demands treatment before the debilitating effects cause severe medical problems. Bulimia demands that an individual gain control over their eating habits. Recurrent binging and purging can lead to extremely serious difficulties.
Gaining control of bulimia, while ultimately an individual responsibility, is difficult and demanding. It generally requires the dedicated help of loved ones and the motivation of the affected individual to want to make a positive change in their behavior that will lead to the adoption of life sustaining and life changing conduct.
Harm that may be caused
Many medical problems are created because of bulimia which can include kidney malfunction, stomach disorders, problems with teeth and gums, malnutrition or other severe ailments. Without proper treatment for bulimia some people will die as a result. There is additional risk for psychological disorders to arise as a result of a bulimic lifestyle, if those problems are not already at the root of the eating disorder. It is evident that bulimia can cause a downward spiraling of an individual’s quality of life and create angst, anger or even depression for it’s victims.
Bulimia is most common among teenage girls and women in their early twenties. Intervention and treatment should begin as soon as the eating disorder is recognized and continue until the eating disorder is cured and a healthy life style is adopted. A difficulty that often prevents effective and timely treatment is often caused by the bulimics failure to recognize the problem or by engaging in behaviors that hide or mask the disease. It is not uncommon for a bulimic to feel ashamed of their activities and to be experiencing suffering in plain view of loved ones.
It is often the task of close friends or loved ones to help with the identification of bulimia and encourage or demand that treatment be sought. Positive outcomes are best achieved with diagnosis of the eating disorder in the relatively early stages of formation. Positive outcomes are also likely with those that have been coping with the eating disorder over long periods of time, although it may take a more sustained period of treatment to successfully deal with the eating disorder.
Treatment for bulimia can entail a wide variety of activities. Education, counseling, coaching, mentoring, nutrition and meal planning as well as medical treatment and hospitalization may be required to assist the individual in conquering bulimia. The results of failing to properly treat the eating disorder can be disastrous. However, effective treatment can often result in dramatic progress and provides the best opportunity for enabling the person suffering from bulimia to rejoin their world as well adjusted and healthy individuals.
The potential results of effective treatment can be dramatic. A person that beats bulimia is often filled with a strong sense of accomplishment and self-assurance. They are armed with the knowledge that they possess the strength to conquer any challenge that life presents to them.
In summary, bulimia is a widespread affliction that can lead to potentially life threatening conditions. The individual with bulimia must desire to make a change in their lives and recognize that help is available to provide information, encouragement, education and counseling. The recognition of the need for change is the first critical step in the pathway leading to success.
Learn about the different Bulimia Treatments