Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge-eating and inappropriate methods of weight control accompanied by excessive shape and weight concerns. A "binge" is an event in which one eats a much larger amount of food than most people would eat in a similar situation and experiences a sense of loss of control.
There are two types of bulimia nervosa:
- purging: self-induced vomiting or abuse laxatives, diuretics or enemas are used to counteract the effects of binge-eating;
- non-purging: fasting or exercising to excess follows episodes of binge-eating.
About 90% of patients with bulimia nervosa are women. Most develop the disorder in early adulthood. While many women report various symptoms of bulimia nervosa, only 1-3% of young women meet the full diagnostic criteria for the disorder which are as follows:
- regular (at least twice a week) episodes of binge-eating characterized by both:
- eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time under similar circumstances
- a sense of loss of control over eating during these episodes (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
- regular (at least twice a week) compensatory behavior, such as self-induced vomiting; abusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas, fasting, or excessive exercise.
- there is always undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation.
- anorexia nervosa is not present (i.e., weight is greater than 85% of expected body weight)
The best type of doctor to see for a case of bulimia is a compassionate physician who practices nutritional medicine. Only a compassionate physician can communicate with these patients. The communication which is necessary is nothing less than a new reality for the patient in which body size, composition, and weight have nothing to do with who the patient is, and do not determine her worth.
The approach used in homeopathy is to attempt to restore the balance of the system using dilute solutions of natural substances specific to the disorder.