Bulimia; binge-purge syndrome (Eng.)
Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder characterized by several episodes of binge eating or overeating in a short period of time followed by a compensatory behavior for overeating. Patients commonly binge eat and purge (compensatory behavior to remove the calories consumed) 1 to 10 times a week. Most patients develop bulimia due to their fear of being overweight, stress buildup, depression, and psychological disorders such as tumors in the hypothalamus. Some patients develop bulimia during or after following a diet that leads to increased hunger causing them to overeat. Patients with BN are distinguished from patients with anorexia who binge and purge due to the normal or above normal body weights of BN patients.
Types of bulimia based on compensatory behavior:
- Purging bulimia involves regular self-induce vomiting and excessive use of laxatives, diuretics or enemas after overeating.
- Nonpurging bulimia uses other methods to remove the calories consumed such as fasting, strict dieting, and excessive exercising.
Diagnostic features of bulimia include repeated binge eating followed by a compensatory behavior, feeling of lack of control when overeating, occurrence of binge eating and purging at least once weekly for 3 months, and extreme concern regarding body shape and weight. BN can only be diagnosed as the disorder if symptoms of anorexia are not present. These can be determined through a physical exam and a psychological evaluation.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
- Fluoxetine is the only antidepressant approved for managing bulimia. This can be given to bulimic patients with or without depression. Side effects: insomnia, headache, tremors, fatigue