Bulimia is widely thought of as some type of obsession with food. However, food really has nothing to do with the root of the problems that can trigger bulimia.
Rather, bulimia is really all about control. A person with bulimia feels that they are not in charge of their life. That lack of control is often what instigates the destructive binge-purge cycle called bulimia.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to bulimia, many of them about physical appearances. This is probably why bulimia has the highest concentration among teenage girls.
For a girl, how they look is important and the slightest derogatory comment could lead to a bulimic episode. On top of that, teenagers, particularly girls, can be spiteful, further spurring those feelings of inadequacy in a person with bulimia.
Depression and genetics are possible causes of bulimia along with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a stressful situation or a prior trauma. However, no matter what the underlying causes are, why is the urge to purge so addicting to bulimics? This is where the control factor comes in. Bulimics need to numb themselves against the pain, so they eat. Sometimes, they plan binge eating sessions in advance, usually with a lot of sweets and other junk food.
Other times, a bulimic episode comes on suddenly. When bulimics binge, they often do so alone, in secrecy. Initially, eating the large quantities of food produces a type of euphoria, distracting them from the real problems in their lives.
However, this euphoria doesn’t last and the guilt and shame in what they are doing sets in. While dealing with the guilt, they then focus on all the potential weight that they could put on due to the binge eating.
Bulimics will take care of those guilty feelings and shame by purging. Purging comes in a variety of forms with vomiting being the most common. However, purging could also entail strenuous exercising, weird dieting, laxative or diuretic usage and even fasting.
This binge-purge cycle causes the body’s endorphins is misfire, producing an unnatural high. This “high” feeling is addicting and before you know it, that first bulimic episode turns into two then three and many more.
Once the pattern of the binge-purge cycle is established, it is tough to break it. Some people experience a “high” from drug use or even extreme sports.
For a bulimic, the binge eating followed by the purge gives them the same type of “high” and that is a hard habit to break, just like with all types of addictions. Only through a doctor’s care and counseling can a bulimic recover.