Monday, May 9, 2011

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by restraining of food intake for a period of time followed by an over intake or binging period that results in feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. The median age of onset is 18. Sufferers attempt to overcome these feelings in a number of ways. The most common form is defensive vomiting, sometimes called purging;fasting, the use of laxativesenemasdiuretics, and over exercising are also common. Bulimia nervosa is nine times more likely to occur in women than men (Barker 2003). Antidepressants, especially SSRIs are widely used in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. (Newell and Gournay 2000).
The word bulimia derives from the Latin (būlīmia), which originally comes from the Greekβουλιμία (boulīmia; ravenous hunger), a compound of βους (bous), ox + λιμός (līmos), hunger.Bulimia nervosa was named and first described by the British psychiatrist Gerald Russell in 1979. Bulimia is strongly familial. Twin studies estimate the heritability of syndromic bulimia to be 54 to 83%.

Related disorders

Bulimics are much more likely than non-bulimics to have an affective disorder, such as depression or general anxiety disorder: A 1985Columbia University study on female bulimics at New York State Psychiatric Institute found 70% had suffered depression some time in their lives (as opposed to 25.8% for adult females in a control sample from the general population), rising to 88% for all affective disorders combined.
 Another study by the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne on a cohort of 2000 adolescents similarly found that those meeting at least two of the DSM-IV criteria for bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa had a sixfold increase in risk of anxiety and a doubling of risk for substance dependency. Bulimia also has negative effects on the sufferer's dental health due to the acid passed through the mouth from frequent vomiting causing acid erosion, mainly on the posterior dental surface.
The onset of bulimia nervosa is often during adolescence, between 13 and 20 years of age, and many cases have previously suffered obesity, with many sufferers relapsing in adulthood into episodic binging and purging even after initially successful treatment and remission.
According to Barker, persons with bulimia are more able to live and interact in everyday chores and tasks such as work and having relationships without the condition overly affecting their abilities.
Bulimia nervosa can be difficult to detect, compared to anorexia nervosa, because bulimics tend to be of average or slightly above or below average weight. Many bulimics may also engage in significantly disordered eating and exercising patterns without meeting the full diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa.

 The diagnostic criteria utilized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR) published by the American Psychiatric Association includes repetitive episodes of binge eating (a discrete episode of overeating during which the individual feels out of control of consumption) compensated for by excessive or inappropriate measures taken to avoid gaining weight.The diagnosis is made only when the behavior is not a part of the symptom complex of anorexia nervosa and when the behavior reflects an overemphasis on physical mass or appearance.
There are two sub-types of bulimia nervosa:

  • Non-purging type bulimics (approximately 6%–8% of cases) exercise or fast excessively after a binge to offset the caloric intake after eating. Purging-type bulimics may also exercise or fast, but as a secondary form of weight control.

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