Bulimia nervosa, also known as simply bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging. This may be done by vomiting or taking laxatives. Other efforts to lose weight may include the use of diuretics, stimulants, water fasting, or excessive exercise. Most people with bulimia are at a normal weight. The forcing of vomiting may result in thickened skin on the knuckles and breakdown of the teeth.Bulimia is frequently associated with other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and problems with drugs or alcohol. There is also a higher risk of suicide and self-harm.
Bulimia typically involves rapid and out-of-control eating, which may stop when the person is interrupted by another person or the stomach hurts from over-extension, followed by self-induced vomiting or other forms of purging. This cycle may be repeated several times a week or, in more serious cases, several times a day.
People with bulimia exhibit several interoceptive deficits, in which one experiences impairment in recognizing and discriminating between internal sensations, feelings, and emotions. People with bulimia may also react negatively to somatic and affective states. In relation to interoceptive sensitivity, hyposensitive individuals may not detect feelings of fullness in a normal and timely fashion, and therefore are prone to eating more calories.
The onset of bulimia nervosa is often during adolescence, between 13 and 20 years of age, and many cases have previously suffered from obesity, with many sufferers relapsing in adulthood into episodic bingeing and purging even after initially successful treatment and remission.
Adolescents with bulimia nervosa are more likely to have self-imposed perfectionism and compulsivity issues in eating compared to their peers. This means that the high expectations and unrealistic goals that these individuals set for themselves are internally motivated rather than by social views or expectations.