How To Prevent Becoming Bulimic
Knowing when to hospitalize a bulimic is very important in stabilizing a sufferer's health or in some cases, even in saving her life. Bulimia is an eating disorder that is typically found in females. The condition usually emerges in the teen years and may not be detected or apparent until the 30's or 40's. It is characterized by a person eating huge amounts of food within a short period of time. A 'binge' usually occurs within a 2 or 3 hour period of time when as much as 3, 000 or more calories can be consumed. Since bulimics also have a distorted view of their self-image, they are driven to purge the quickly ingested calories by inducing vomiting or taking laxatives. Some patients have admitted to purging up to 20 times a day in an attempt to rid themselves of the unwanted fat associated with their binging. The causes of the disorder as well as how to prevent becoming bulimic are not totally understood by the medical community.
Unfortunately, those who suffer with bulimia are quite adept at keeping their condition a secret and parents or other family members may not be aware of the eating disorder. This makes it hard to know when to hospitalize a bulimic. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) Some general symptoms that are apparent in people with the disorder include weight changes that may often occur, depression, frequent dieting, using unusually large amounts of laxatives, vomiting, and eating in secret with a predilection for easily secured foods. A person who suffers with bulimia is generally obsessed with attempting to keep their weight down, yet they feel driven to eat. This can cause them to gain weight and then drop it very often.
The cycle of gaining and loosing is very unhealthy for a person as well as stressful emotionally. Driven by a desire to remain or become thin, the sufferer often purges, but feels guilty and depressed afterwards. It is suggested that one of the first places to start with a young child in how to prevent becoming bulimic is to provide full affirmation about their sense of image and worth. The secretive nature of the disorder lends to the fact that a person is aware of their unhealthy feelings and actions, but they are unable to control them. When bulimics binge, it is usually through fast foods or easily found pre-packaged foods. Whatever is at hand will do, and if nothing is available, some people spend excessive amounts of money to quickly purchase foods for an hour or two of binging.
Other symptoms of the condition are gastric disturbances since constant vomiting upsets the potassium level and other nutrients in the body. The results are damage to the stomach, esophagus, gums and teeth as well as heart damage, excessive fatigue, loss of bone density and even rashes on the skin. The loss of necessary nutrients through constant binging and purging can put many people at risk for death. The body organs can grow weaker and actually shut down as a result of the disorder. There are several ways to treat the disorder, depending on the severity. Sometimes outpatient therapy can be quite effective while hospitalization is the necessary choice for others. Medical professionals usually can advise when to hospitalize a bulimic after a person is diagnosed with the condition. There have been cases, however, when a sufferer was able to hide the disorder so well that she fainted or started bleeding from the stomach before ever receiving medical attention.
Eating disorders are on the rise throughout the country, causing serious concerns for parents. As mentioned earlier, understanding about how to prevent becoming bulimic is very difficult. Even though there are no absolutes in understanding what actually causes the condition, there are some insights gleaned from professionals that can be helpful. By and large, patients who suffer with the disorder seem to come from homes where there are perfectionist tendencies either in the parents or the patients. Sometimes an unusual stress can cause the onset such as a traumatic move, change of school, or physical growth in puberty.
The disorder is also associated with anorexia nervosa. Many times, those who have that condition will progress into bulimia. Some tips on how to prevent becoming bulimic for parents include: parent a child through an environment of unconditional love; do not emphasize good looks or accomplishments as the most important thing in life; monitor stressful times in a child's life so as to alleviate it if possible; put an emphasis on overall good health that includes a sensible diet, exercise and enjoyable activities. Parents should never make weight a major issue unless there is obviously a problem with abnormal weight gain. The less self-conscious a child feels while growing up, the more likely she will have a better personal perception about herself. For parents who care, it is much more effective to connect with and understand a child when she is young if possible, rather than wondering when to hospitalize a bulimic when there becomes a big problem in the future.
Eating disorder articles advise anyone who thinks he or she might have an eating disorder to seek help. Consumption problems can do major damage to a person physically and emotionally. There are many web sites available that provide useful information on the three main types of eating disorders, which are; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binging. All three of these include obsessions over food.
Anorexia nervosa is a disorder that usually manifests through a person who sees himself as heavier than they actually are. Often, this person will not eat at all or, eat very little. Sometimes anorexics thinks being thin will make people like them more. Facts on eating disorders associated with anorexia nervosa recommend counseling and nutrition counseling. Jesus says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Understanding that Christ accepts all people and loves them no matter what can bring healing from acceptance issues. Christian counseling gives hope for the everyday stresses associated with emotional issues of anorexia nervosa.
Bulimia nervosa happens when individuals to eat large amounts of food at one time then cause themselves to vomit or use laxatives to get rid of the 'weight'. Feelings that a person's life is out of control may precede this behavior. Facts on eating disorders give indications that when someone is performing these acts they feel they are in control at that moment whereas at other times they feel no control. Comfort comes from knowing that God is in control. When reading His word anyone can discover that He is trustworthy and faithful. People can give Him all worries and concerns over life and know that He is going to take care of everything. If asked, He will provide strength to help when needed and bring the healing to overcome such problems.
Binge eating is another problem that includes overeating but not usually purging. Men, women, boys, and girls can all be affected as well. It is important to seek treatment for overeating problems as soon as possible. Eating disorder articles include information on some physical effects as well. Starvation of the body damages the heart and brain. Blood pressure, pulse drop and thyroid functions slow down. Mild anemia and swollen joints may manifest in someone who is afflicted. Stomach problems may develop from purging such as rupture and damage to the esophagus and throat can occur as well.
Some treatments mentioned include honesty, increased self-awareness, and accepting one's own powerlessness over their life. Understanding the emotional implications of why the disease manifested in the first place is helpful with treatment. Sometimes people use food to soothe any feeling of emptiness, experiencing loneliness, despair and failure. People also tend to look for something to make them feel better when spiritually hungry. Facts on eating disorders include suggestions on how to find something to soothe and calm the sufferer in place of food. Other suggestions include keeping a daily journal to help understand thoughts and feelings associated with food.
Developing a personal relationship with Jesus and seeking him everyday can bring victory. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16) Eating disorder articles online provide data on the emotional and physical aspects. Understanding the underlying causes of the disease and participating in a healing program is important for treatment. Anyone suffering from this type of disease may also be suffering from low self-esteem and depression. Experiencing the love of Christ in life can bring peace in the midst of struggle. Jesus understands all struggles and if asked, He will help.
Eating Disorder RecoveryForging an eating disorder recovery plan takes education, guidance, and support. There are many complexities involved with eating issues. This set of ailments is characterized by using food to block out feelings and emotions. There is a common thread that runs from person to person who has such issues. There are usually many breeches in personal boundaries. Anything from physical, sexual, and intellectual sanctuaries to emotional and psychological havens have been invaded. Not just from time to time, but consistently from an early age. Research has shown that many disorders of this type have a strong root in loss of control. The one thing that most people can control is how much they eat and when. And when that doesn't work, they can always throw it up. Typical of eating disorder recovery plans are the inclusion of individual and family counseling, stress reduction and nutritional education, body image and sexuality groups.
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7) Families and individuals dealing with eating disorder recovery often end up that way because they are unaware that there is trouble brewing; that is until it is too late. Compulsive overeating, binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia are the most common of these ailments. Compulsive overeating often leads not only to overweight; but obesity. Obesity is on the rise and becoming an increasing hazard for over eaters. In order to cope with daily issues, stress, and/or emotional conflicts over eaters of this type pacify themselves with food. Compulsive over eaters usually feel out of control and are aware that gorging is not the way to handle things, yet this type of eater persists in these destructive patterns. Although their eating patterns may even seem abnormal to them, there is still a comforting feeling when they can choose favorite foods to eat.
Binge eating is another condition that people are forced to handle in eating disorder recovery. A binge eater will eat enormous amounts of food; grotesque amounts even. So much more food than needed; that a person without this disorder would be appalled. This is why such a disorder goes undetected for so long. There is typically a feeling of being uncomfortably full. The eater often experiences depression, guilty and/or disgust following this gorging pattern. Most times the person is not even hungry. But, using food to cover feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and hopelessness brings a certain satisfaction; albeit very temporary. During the eating binge, the person is mulling over the fact that this seems to be the only outlet for them to express their feelings. Of course, for many who binge eat, the next phase of behavior is to expel the food. This is a condition of it's own. It's called bulimia. The main differences between the two is that a binge eater doesn't necessarily throw it up and a bulimia sufferer doesn't necessarily overeat.
Bulimia is characterized by first eating, then purging. This is very dangerous for the esophagus. The esophagus is only meant to have food travel one way. An occasional eruption is normal; but consistently vomiting can cause permanent esophageal damage. Without an eating disorder recovery plan in place, the esophagus could eventually develop erosions and ulcers. When the patient stops the vicious cycle of destruction these sores will heal. But, upon mending, scarring can take place that results in esophageal stricture. Benign esophageal stricture is a reduction of the opening of the esophagus that produces swallowing difficulties. These strictures can have a long term impact on a person's ability to eat normally. Therefore, when bulimia is present, it is critical to get immediate help.
As individuals and families navigate their personal eating disorder recovery process, there are several aspects of the plan that should be keep in mind. Behavior change is the goal. Sufferers must establish new patterns and a whole new mindset. Each time a "loss of control" thought comes along, the person will need to make a determined decision of what action to take; instead of letting their feelings dictate the choices they make with food. No longer will this person allow the feeling of being out of control; control how food is used. There are many coping mechanisms that are much more beneficial and healthier than eating. This change will not happen overnight; but through consistent and persistent practice. Like most behavior changes; things must be taken one day at a time.
No recovery process can work if the individual, who is effected, is not 100% motivated to be healed. Either through education (the preferred method) or devastation (to be avoided at all costs) the person with an eating disorder will make the decision to seek help. Since the best eating disorder recovery plans include family counseling, confessing of a person's struggles, to a trusted family member, early in the recovery period, will help to build the support that is needed to successfully meet their healing goals. Some very effective programs include creative expression, assertiveness training, and recreational therapy as "whole person" treatment. Eating disorder recovery is more efficient and effective when caring health professionals and family are involved. A key feature of an effective program is also an aftercare program. A change in environment (both physical and from individuals) will help a person clear their head to begin the process of healing. Learning new nutritional behaviors coupled with body image retraining can cause a whole plethora of new and more accurate responses to everyday situations.
Causes of eating disorders are more complex and common than one might think. With so many striving for the "perfect" body or dealing with psychological down falls, food has become the enemy for some and the savior for others. Many struggle with these illnesses that can and often do, lead to death. Men, women, and even children in their preteen years have faced this terrible ordeal. Causes include abuse, body image, lack of self worth, and control issues. Seeking eating disorder treatment is vital in helping to recover from this battle.
No particular person is singled out by these maladies-they are everywhere- in our cultures, in our schools, in our families, and within our circle of friends. The causes of eating disorders disguise themselves as "no big deals," but are manipulative and hurtful in the long run. "But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we better; neither if we eat not, are we the worse." (1 Corinthians 8:8)
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, (NEDA), "These disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors." People who struggle with these tend to use their views of food as coping mechanisms. Whether they choose to eat very little or starve themselves, tend to overeat or vomit afterward, there is a battle that wages within their very soul. It desires satisfaction and wholeness, something that allows the person to be in control and no thought of seeking eating disorder treatment.
The psychological factors that can be causes are "low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life, depression, anxiety, anger, or loneliness," stated the NEDA's Help Guide. In today's society, people of all walks of life struggle with self-esteem. For many, this can be a battle that is dealt with on a day to day basis. The home life of an individual who struggles with the causes of eating disorders can affect the way they function. If abuse, abandonment, or apprehension in any way marred their childhood, their problem is sure to have depression and loneliness surface also. These are concerns that should cause someone to seek treatment.
Just like psychological factors can contribute to eating problems, so can interpersonal ones. Lots of teenagers come from dysfunctional homes and encounter many hardships. Because of the lack of attention at home, they may find it more difficult to "open up" and express their feelings and emotions. A history of ridicule and abuse can also contribute to a struggle with the causes of eating disorders and may result in the need for sufferers to seek treatment.
Our culture itself indirectly promotes some of the causes. On every newsstand and checkout counter there are magazines highlighting beautiful supermodels that scream, "you can look like this, too!" Many young people fall into this trap and believe that their only means of becoming like these fashion models is to be thin and stay thin. They consider beauty to be a certain size and a certain shape. According to the NEDA's Help Guide, it is the "cultural norm that value people on the basis of physical appearance and not inner qualities and strengths."
There are many factors that contribute to the causes, but there is hope and eating disorder treatment available. The NEDA's recommendation for treatment consists of any of the following combinations: a physical exam, nutritional counseling, a psychiatric evaluation, cognitive and interpersonal therapy, as well as medication and possible hospitalization. "The sooner the eating disorder is acknowledged and help sought, the better the chance for recovery. Seventy to eighty percent of people who receive treatment respond positively, and although relapses can occur, treatment provides a foundation for full recovery," stated the NEDA's Help Guide.