Bulimia is a type of eating disorder that is most common among young females who are concerned about excessive weight gain and who may have already attempted and failed at quick weight loss through more conventional means. Typically, problems with Bulimia begin for most people somewhere between the ages of 13 and 20.
People who are bulimic eat large quantities of food at one time, which is called binge eating, and then forcefully empty their stomachs by either inducing vomiting, or by the over use of laxatives and enemas. Often they also over-exercise to the point of exhaustion in an effort to burn off any extra calories from their binge eating.
Binge eating is one of the main symptoms of Bulimia, and it is characterized by eating much larger portions of food than most people would normally eat in one sitting, or the inability to be able to control how much food is eaten. This binge session is then followed by behavior specifically aimed at preventing weight gain, and expelling food from the body before it has a chance to be digested.
Whereas people suffering from Anorexia Nervosa typically lose a lot of weight, people suffering from Bulimia are sometimes difficult to detect as they are often of average weight or in some cases only slightly overweight.
Though Bulimia is more prevalent amongst young adolescent women, recent studies show that more and more males are being affected by this condition as well. It is also more prevalent amongst certain groups of young people, especially those who place high importance on being slim such as models, dancers, and gymnasts, although it is not limited to these groups.
Commonly, being overly concerned about ones weight can be a forerunner of this condition and you will often find people who suffer from Bulimia have very low self esteem and are very unhappy with their body and their weight, even if it falls within what are considered to be normal levels. Often times you will find a Bulimic is also suffering from some type of depression or anxiety.
No one really knows exactly what causes Bulimia. It is often triggered by different things, such as a bout of depression, stress, or even a traumatic event. If there is one female in a family with Bulimia, it is not uncommon for others in the same family to also become Bulimic. Professions or family members or even cultures that place too much importance on being slim and on good looks, can also encourage this type of eating disorder.