How Do I Know If I Have Bulimia?

How Do I Know If I Have Bulimia?

Have we been talking about you? I binged and vomited daily for nine years without thinking I had a problem, although that was before bulimia had been given a name. I came across the very first magazine article about “bulimarexia” and was shocked to discover that there were other people who had the same eating behavior as mine.

Whether you binge and purge daily or only occasionally, or if you overeat and then exercise compulsively or engage in strict dieting, you are still abusing your body in a bulimic manner. Actually, even if you are only obsessive in your thoughts about weight, diet, and food, you still have a problem with food, even if you do not meet the clinical definition for anorexia or bulimia.

To address the problems of individuals who do not fit the strict criteria, the American Psychiatric Association established a new category in the DSM-IV, “Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified” (EDNOS). Some of the symptoms of EDNOS include binge eating without purging, meeting all of the criteria for anorexia except the individual has regular menses or is close to normal weight, having bulimic symptoms with less frequency than twice a week or for a duration of less than three months, purging after eating relatively small portions, or chewing and spitting out the food rather than swallowing.

Just about everyone enjoys an occasional large meal (holiday binges!), but an obsession is an escape. If you have constant negative thoughts about food and your body, you have a problem regardless of its clinical classification, and I urge you to face it.

Reprinted with permission from Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery
By Lindsey Hall and Leigh Cohn
To find out more about this helpful book click here.


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