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Bulimia Nervosa

Eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of all mental illnesses. The Eating Disorders Association (UK) estimates a 10% mortality rate. An 18% mortality rate has been suggested for Anorexia Nervosa. In addition to the risk of suicide, “death can occur after severe bingeing in bulimia nervosa as well”. For perspective, these death rates are higher than those of some forms of cancer.

 

Resources
Bulimia on Wikipedia
Overeaters Anonymous
National Centre for Eating Disorders

 

DSM Description
Please note that, in general, diagnostic criteria are considered a guide. A legitimate clinical diagnosis can often be made when not all, but most, of the criteria are met.

The following six criteria should be met for a patient to be diagnosed with bulimia:

  1. The patient feels incapable of controlling the urge to binge, even during the binge itself, and consumes a larger amount of food than a person would normally consume at one sitting.
  2. The patient purges him or herself of the recent intake, resorting to vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, exercising, etc.
  3. The patient engages in such behavior at least twice per week for three months.
  4. The patient is focused upon body image and the desperate desire to appear thin.
  5. The patient does not meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa. (Some anorectics may demonstrate bulimic behaviours in their illness: binge-eating and purging themselves of food on a regular or infrequent basis at certain times during the course of their disease. Alternatively, some individuals might switch from having anorexia to having bulimia. The mortality rate for anorectics who practice bulimic behaviors is twice that of anorectics who do not.)
  6. The patient is of normal weight or overweight.