As with just about any illness or disorder, bulimia has no simple black-and white definition. It’s a complicated disorder with various faces. To help you get familiar with the disorder and possibly start down the road to diagnosis, the following sections present both real-life situations and psychiatric definitions that deal with the disorder. Bulimia is a treacherous disorder that takes its toll on the body and the spirit of sufferers. With chronic purging behavior, the risks you take include the following:
· Damage to your heart or heart functioning
· Liver failure
· Kidney failure
· Damage to your esophagus
· Damage to the functioning of your gastrointestinal system (for example, bloating, constipation, diarrhea)
· Damage to your tooth enamel
Beyond the physical consequences of bulimia are its damaging emotional effects. Your attempts to calm and soothe yourself with food have turned into the monster of out-of-control bingeing. The more you try to bring your bingeing (and, thus, your weight) under control with purging, the more the binges seem to occur. These behaviors serve to exaggerate the already-heavy burden of shame you carry around about yourself and lower your self-esteem even further.