Bulimia nervosa

This disorder is characterised by extreme preoccupation for weight and body shape and presents the following characteristics:

  • recurrent binge eating (excessive food consumption, with a feeling of “losing control”);
  • compensatory behaviours
    • expulsion (self-induced vomiting, purging, diuretics, etc.)
    • without expulsion (abstaining from food, physical hyperactivity, etc.)
  • binge-eating / compensatory behaviours at least twice a week, for three months

People with this kind of disorder constantly experience negative emotions, manifest perfectionism and “all-or-nothing” thinking, in other words, they set themselves very high standards and are deeply unsatisfied when they can’t achieve them, or they can’t manage to follow their strict dieting rules and fall into bulimic behaviour: “I’ve broken my diet anyway, I might as well binge”. As a result, people suffering from Bulimia Nervosa have an altered perception of hunger and satiety.

The disorder affects 1% of young women, with the onset typically manifesting between the ages of 12 and 25. Men are seldom affected. Those affected usually present a normal BMI (body mass index) and are rarely slightly underweight or overweight. It is extremely rare that a Bulimia Nervosa patient is grossly overweight.

Outpatient treatment is more feasible for Bulimia Nervosa than for Anorexia Nervosa. However, hospitalisation becomes necessary when the patient is affected by the following symptoms / factors:

  • Severe depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Medical complications
  • The failure of several outpatient treatments
  • A family environment which complicates the patient’s conditions.