Bulimia And Other Eating Disorders Aren’t Choices, They Are Illnesses

female eating disorder

Obsession with idealized perceptions of perfectionism and body image are not taboo in today’s world. For decades, there has been an emphasis through the media on looking “perfect”. The age of digital alteration has made some of these goals and standards unattainable in reality. In the delusions of eating disorders, which alter the way people see themselves and perceive they are being seen by others, these “goals” really are attainable. Since someone with an eating disorder is convinced that they can achieve the perfect look, the perfect size, the perfect weight, and the perfect acceptance, they go to great lengths to achieve it. Should they fall short in any way, it results in deep emotional pain, self-punishment, and other repercussions. This is not a lifestyle choice. Nobody chooses the daily pain of having to loathe one’s appearance to the point of binging and purging and going to extreme lengths to maintain control over body image. Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa are diagnosable mental illnesses.

Answering the question, “Is Bulimia Considered A Mental Illness?” LCSW and eating disorder specialist Gretta Gleissner responds for Huffington Post. Mental illness is defined as “a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day,” according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gleissner explains, “Because the symptoms and causes of bulimia are rooted in genetic and environmental factors which can affect a person’s mental, emotional, and physical state, bulimia is considered a mental illness.”  Should bulimia nervosa go untreated, it can become “an extremely debilitating disorder”.

The National Eating Disorder Association writes that bulimia nervosa “is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.” Symptoms can include:

  • Cyclical episodes of consuming abnormally large amounts of food and “preventative” measures to avoid weight gain like vomiting, abusing laxatives, over-exercising, and more.
  • Unable to control oneself during a binge episode
  • Feelings of self-worth and self-esteem are completely tied to ideas about body image and body image perception.

Recovery from eating disorders like bulimia nervosa takes special holistic care which approaches mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one are struggling with bulimia, there is help available. Call Avalon By The Sea today for information on our residential treatment programs located on the beautiful coastline of Malibu, California. 1 888-958-7511.

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