The eating disorder bulimia nervosa is one of the most common disorders of its kind. Unlike its counterpart anorexia nervosa, those suffering from bulimia do in fact consume food. However, as opposed to eating normal amounts of food, bulimics often engage in what is commonly referred to as binge eating. During a binge, an individual with this eating disorder will consume large quantities of food. This is the most common symptom of the disorder.
What happens after a binge is relative to the type of bulimia the individual suffers from. If it is a purging type, the individual will often purge themselves from the food soon after consumption. While self induced vomiting is generally the means in which a bulimic will purge, there are other methods that are used to purge. As opposed to vomiting, some bulimics will chose to utilize laxatives or enemas to aid in purging consumed food from their bodies. This cycle can occur once or in some severe cases, several times within a day. Individuals suffering from a non purging type of bulimia tend to rid themselves of the excess in different manners. Though the food in this situation is not expelled from the body through vomiting, the non-purging bulimic will often subject themselves to excessive amounts of exercise. Fasting is also a behavior associated with this disorder.
Bulimia nervosa typically affects young women as they are generally the most sensitive in regards to their body image. To date, nearly 1.5 million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed as having bulimia nervosa. Often originating in adolescence, the symptoms of this condition cause long term damage on the developing body. As eating disorders are actually psychological conditions, they are commonly treated with antidepressant medications such as Prozac and Wellbutrin. These medications, along with regular counseling sessions, have proven helpful in treating individuals with bulimia nervosa.