California, Gurse Books, 1983

The book I read was about the hard difficult task of overcoming this terrible eating disorder known as Bulimia. It is a secret addiction that dominates thoughts, severely undercuts self esteem, and threatens lives. Bulimia is a food obsession characterized by repeated overeating binges followed by purges of forced vomiting, prolonged fasting, and/or abusive laxatives, enemas and diuretics. A typical binge/purge cycle, who and why people become involved with bulimia, and the medical complications of bulimia, are all amazing factors that we should be able to recognize this deadly disease by, enabling us to suggest treatment.
What is a typical binge? "Typical" depends entirely on the individual involved. The size and frequency can vary as well as the type of purge and the time between sessions. However, many bulimics follow the same pattern. They frequently start a binge while in the course of eating what is thought to be a "good" or "safe" meal or snack. They are very obsessive with what they eat; therefore, they usually find themselves feeling guilty about something they ate. This then leads to a craving of sweets and fried foods which leads them to believe they can eat anything they want, because after they purge, all the calories will be gone. In a typical binge, these sweets and fried foods are consumed in extremes. Bulimics always think it will be their last-ever binge. Following the binge-eating, bulimics will take the next step of purging, or vomiting up everything they had just taken in. Usually purging is postponed for about thirty minutes after drinking a large amount of water!
. After the time passes, most proceed with self-induced vomiting, bringing everything up that is possible. Bulimics often have a feeling of weakness, dizziness, and headaches following this process. This is a fairly gruesome process, and many people wonder why and who would want to do this to themselves.
Bulimia is generally considered to be a psychological and emotional disorder, but there are hypotheses that some bulimics are influenced by their heredity, or chemical imbalances in the body. The reason most people become bulimics is a complex mixture of childhood conflicts and culture pressures. Many bulimics find comfort and a way to release these pressures, take control and eat furiously for an hour, then turn back the clock by vomiting it all up. Our culture is obsessed with being thin to the extent of looking ill. Bulimic persons constantly compare their bodies-and lives in general- to those of other persons, and usually unfavorably, with further loss of self-esteem. The lives of bulimarexics are devoid of fun, humor, and genuine self-pleasure. A majority have lost sight of or, in some cases, never discovered the child within, that crazy, fun loving, exuberant part that permits us to reward ourselves for all we have accomplished. Bulimarexia can affect persons at !
any age, from the teens well into middle age. However, the majority of bulimics come from similar white, middle to upper-class backgrounds. Bulimics are often considered "ideal" children, are no longer among siblings, and do well in school. Bulimics also tend to be judgmental of themselves and others, have difficulty expressing emotions through language, fear criticism, and have an extremely low sense of self-esteem. They also tend to have a desire for perfection, a sense of loneliness and isolation, and an obsession of food as it relates to the body. Some of these persons feel that it is necessary to have two different personalities. One is the competent persons the outside world sees; and the other is the driven, out-of-control persons who will cheat, steal, or lie to satisfy her urge to binge.
The medical complications of bulimia result from the hazards accompanying intentional malnutrition, binge eating, self-induced vomiting, cathartic drug abuse, and strenuous exercise. Excessive vomiting can cause death from cardiac arrest, kidney failure, impaired metabolism, or severe dehydration. Other serious side-effects include rotten teeth, digestive disorders, amenorrhea, malnourishment, anemia, infected glands, blisters on the throat, internal bleeding, hypoglycemia, icy hands and feet, and a ruptured stomach or esophagus. There are emotional side effects as well, including social isolation, fear, generalized anxiety, loneliness, and low-self esteem. These emotional problems are blanketed by obsessive thoughts about food, secret rituals, and gorge-purge behavior. The binges associated with bulimia provide an instant numbness that is addictive in nature.
The widespread incidence of bulimarexia has gone unrecognized until fairly recently because binge-ing and purging is in essence