How The Consequences Of Bulimia And Its Treatment Involve The Family

Eating disorders involve problems with the perception and consumption of food, and it affects more than just individuals; family members can readily feel its effects. Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, which involves drastic reductions in food intake, and bulimia nervosa, which entails episodes of binge-eating followed by laxative consumption or induced vomiting.

People who have eating disorders are typically obsessed with attaining a certain weight or body physique, and many have strongly unfavorable views of their bodies. This negative self-image pushes them to take extreme measures to achieve their desired shape. Without treatment, bulimia and other eating disorders can cause permanent damage to the body as well as progression into more mental disorders such as depression.

Eating disorders such as bulimia typically affect teens and young adults, and the family is thus directly affected by its consequences. Family members might blame themselves or feel guilty about the condition, but it is important to realize that it is not their fault unless they fuel the negative self-image of the person.

Family members are at the best position to detect bulimia, offer support, and deliver treatment, so they are one of the key players in the person’s recovery. However, some treatment options do not consider the crucial roles that the family plays, underscoring the need for greater awareness of how the family can help against bulimia.

The Basics Of Bulimia

Bulimia is a potentially dangerous mental condition that can cause lasting physical and psychological damage. As mentioned before, it occurs in people that have an extreme desire to lose weight and to attain their desired body image. It is important to note here that they might still perceive themselves as too large or heavy even when they are already dangerously underweight. The condition distorts their ability to assess their self-image accurately, and this can be compounded by peer pressure, especially if other people constantly bully them for being too fat.

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People with bulimia will freely eat food instead of starving themselves like those with anorexia nervosa. However, their mindset is that they need to remove the calories they have consumed, which they usually do by inducing themselves to vomit, taking large doses of laxatives, or exercising vigorously for extended periods. Bulimia is different from other eating disorders in that many people who have the condition have normal weights or are slightly overweight, which is why observations from family members are essential in helping to get a proper diagnosis.

How Bulimia Can Impact Family Relationships

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The condition heavily impacts the family members of those who have bulimia. They might feel guilty for allowing it to progress or believe that they have given inadequate support to their loved one. While many of the causes of bulimia involve how the family has treated the loved one in the past, it is not usually the intention of family members to have their loved one develop bulimia. Unless family members have been intentionally mistreating their loved one or have displayed violent behaviors, they are not to blame. However, this does not apply to dysfunctional families who have created toxic conditions that allowed extreme insecurity to take hold.

Other families are affected in different ways by having a member who has bulimia. Some may not acknowledge the mental condition, resorting to admonishing or punishing their loved one for engaging in behaviors which they think are foolish and easily controlled. Some may also react with anger due to the impact of bulimia on their lives; treatment can be expensive and time-consuming, and the condition can strain family relationships. Others may be ashamed, given the stigma that surrounds mental health still exists for some people. These responses may not be helpful to the person with bulimia, so treatments must be able to address them to ensure better outcomes.

Family-Based Interventions

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Treatment options for those who have bulimia often include constant monitoring as well as the administration of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication, since both anxiety and depression tend to go along with bulimia. Serious cases might require hospitalization to ensure that the person is still receiving proper nutrition. For less dangerous situations, intensive outpatient monitoring may be a viable option, and this will involve monitoring and vigilance on the part of the family to ensure that recovery takes place.

A patient may also undergo cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of treatment seeks to change the harmful behaviors of people with bulimia by helping them control their condition and identify strategies that work for them. Psychotherapy sessions may also be given to family members, educating them on proper ways to reach out to their affected loved one. The therapist will teach them how to care for the patient actively, and they will also address any lingering family issues. This intervention allows the family to become a more effective support system for their loved one, further hastening recovery and preventing relapses.

How Bulimia Negatively Affects Romantic Relationships

 

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People who are diagnosed with an eating disorder often believe that they are the culprit of their own hurts and frustrations. But this is among the many myths involving eating disorders, which include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. This misconception adds insult to injury, leading to worsening of the symptoms and making recovery impossible. Consequently, these people do not only hurt themselves but the relationships that they establish, especially romantic relationships.

 

Love relationships cannot survive if one is obsessed about her weight or if she has an extreme case of an eating disorder. It is because these disorders promote negative thought patterns, pessimism, and insecurities, and these can tremendously impact one’s chances of maintaining a beautifully healthy relationship. Below are some reasons why.

 

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Secrecy

 

People who suffer from an eating disorder are most often secretive and have trust issues. As we may know, trust is a vital component in every relationship. If there’s no trust, a relationship will have trouble flourishing. If one is to keep her binge eating or calorie counting from her partner and she has been doing this for years, then she is hiding an important aspect of her life from her partner, perhaps out of fear of being judged or rejected. And when there is a feeling of fear or hesitancy, she may not be able to return the compassion and intimacy, which make for a meaningful relationship.

 

Social Circumstances

 

A person with a bulimia or anorexia tries to avoid going to parties and other socializing events for fear of eating too much, and this may bother her partner, especially if he doesn’t know why she is so adamant at refusing to socialize with him. So she finds a reason not to go because she doesn’t want him to know the truth. What if it’s his birthday celebration? Wouldn’t he think any excuse would be insufficient?

 

Shame

 

Living a life in fear and embarrassment builds limitations and blocks around us that destroy our self-confidence. Despite not telling their partners, a bulimic or anorexic often shows a dissatisfaction of themselves.

 

Dysfunctional eating and weight dissatisfaction cause shame, which then leads one to keep secrets from her partner. On the contrary, opening up to one’s struggles with weight will possibly increase intimacy between partners and help diminish shame.

 

Decreased Self-Esteem

 

Eating disorder is a serious mental illness that makes us think less of ourselves. We become ecstatic one day because we’ve lost 4 pounds just to gain them all back with just one sitting of pizza and beer. We’d feel crazy depressed and frustrated. Then our partner wonders why we act the way we do, but we can’t tell them. We begin to feel so low, thinking that by now they’d feel differently about us.

 

That is how an eating disorder can destroy one’s self-image and one’s life. The inflicted individual will not be proud of almost anything she has because it is engraved in her thoughts that she is defective due to her eating issues.

 

Choosing A Partner

 

If she were not yet in a romantic relationship, her criteria for a partner would be lopsided because of her eating problem. Because she wants someone that she can be open with or not be ashamed, she might look for a partner who has the same mental health issue, or perhaps someone with another mental condition. She will be looking for someone who is flawed, as she believes that is what she deserves. Or it could be because she wouldn’t feel half as bad.

 

Conclusion

 

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These are only some of the more common reasons why dysfunctional eating can negatively impact a romantic relationship. Although it can be different in other relationships, it is almost always true that where there is an eating problem, there is always someone who is suffering from shame and low self-esteem, which will inevitably come between the love of two people in the relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s What Psychiatry Has To Say:  5 Reasons Why Bulimia Is Actually More Serious Than You Think 

Bulimia is an eating disorder that has been highly stigmatized for being either just a phase or a narcissistic tendency. Bulimic patients can go from binge-eating large amounts of food and then throwing them up after feeling guilty about eating too much, so they induce vomiting. They would also resort to other methods of losing weight such as unreasonable fasting, enemas, use of laxatives and diuretics, and excessive exercise. 

 

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Causes and Effects of Bulimia

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Regarded as a menacing type of eating disorder, bulimia nervosa in its worst form may end up taking the life of the patient. This eating discrepancy is typified by episodic bouts of bingeing or gorging followed by regurgitation that is brought upon by the patient through the use of emetics or diuretics. Bulimia nervosa often leads to other mental health problems including depression, anxiety or panic attacks where the individual usually has a very low self-worth, possibly that no one cares (according to Betterhelp therapy services) and is wreaked by feelings of vulnerability or guilt.

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Self Help Strategies For Dealing With Bulimia Nervosa

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Bulimia nervosa is one of the gravest of eating disorders that ends up taking a huge toll on the affected individual, both physically and mentally. The bulimic suffers from a low self-esteem and is preoccupied with her form and weight. On one hand, the patient is unable to contain her sporadic impulse to binge while on the other, she resorts to bouts of self-imposed purging in order to disgorge the excessive food intake, by gulping diuretics, emetics or laxatives.

Bulimia in an individual often happens to be co-morbid or in other words, the bulimic tends to suffer from an additional psychological problem like major depressive disorder or anxiety disorder. Besides seeking assisted care in the form of an outpatient or inpatient treatment program, a bulimic can abide by some DIY or self-help strategies to cope with the eating disorder. Following are some self-help techniques that a bulimia patient can heed apart from undergoing the regular treatment methods including psychotherapy, group discussions, nutritional counseling, and medicinal therapy.

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Princesses Can Have It Too: Princess Diana’s Battle With Bulimia

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Everyone knows who Princess Diana is. A beloved princess, a wonderful mother, a star of the media, and a frail woman who endured so much only to come out as stronger than ever. In the 20th anniversary of her death, the first-ever heard ‘Diana tapes’, a series of secret recordings of her interview with Andrew Morton about her life and loveless marriage, found a shocking discovery. Princess Diana admitted suffering from bulimia, and had to find “a therapist near me or else.”

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What is Body Shaming?

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Magazines, social media, TV shows and other platforms always offer advice, articles, and motivation on how to lose weight abruptly, recommends various diet plan to optimize weight loss, and ways how to appear thinner, etc. At first glance, this feature on diet and exercise are completely harmless but with this constant bombarding of ideas that slimmer is better, one may start being self-critical with their body weight, body shape, and size.

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