It’s very important to note that though a person might not meet all of the below diagnostic and qualitative criteria, they might still present with a serious medical illness. It is strongly recommended that a person seek help as soon as a problem is suspected.
What Your Loved One Might Be Experiencing
While it is alarming and somewhat confusing to watch someone you respect and care about engage in behaviors that are unsafe, it helps to consider where they are coming from. A person with bulimia nervosa be be experiencing the following:
- An intense fear of gaining weight
- Shame of their perceived inability to stop their behaviors
- A feeling of relief from purging, despite the knowledge of the risky behavior
- Restlessness- compulsion to stand, shake legs, move excessively
Bulimia Nervosa Criteria
Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, life-threatening eating disorder in which an individual engages in cycles of bingeing on food and purging.
To be diagnosed with bulimia nervosa according to the DSM-5, the following criteria must be met:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
- Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
- Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
- The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
- Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
- The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.
What You Might Notice
- A person eating rapidly and nervously
- A person’s reluctance wanting to eat around others
- A person consuming excessive amounts of food in a short period of time
- Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
- Purchase of laxatives, diuretics or enemas
- Excessive time engaging in exercise
- Signs of vomiting
- Cuts or bruising on the top of the knuckle joint from self-induced vomiting