Bulimia is bouts of uncontrolled eating followed by some form of purging. The purging can range from putting your fingers down your throat to a rigorous exercise programme – I have seen seven to ten exercise visits a week - to using lots of laxatives. Certain forms of purging will eventually cause dental damage.
I have treated many Bulimics and the common thread seems to be strict rules about food. Rules - lots and lots of them. And if they are broken this can tip you into a binge which then kicks off a whole cycle of bingeing and purging. The other biggie that can kick off a cycle is difficult emotions or thoughts.
The key to all this is the cycle. It has distinct phases: emotional, physical and mental. Many, many Bulimics report feeling ‘out-of-body’ or watching themselves when they are going through a cycle and have no control.
They often report that no one else knows about their secret and they would stop a binge immediately if someone were to show up when they were eating. If any of these rings true you might be experiencing anxiety in social situations where you cannot control food and drink. This can lead to a shallow social life or little interaction to avoid these difficult situations.
Distorted or overvalued ideas about body shape may also bother you.
Sometimes Bulimia is masking other worries – which may be driving the symptom visibly or invisibly depending on your awareness of the past.