Bulimia: What to Do If You Think Your Teen is Bulimic

Bulimia ...

... is an eating disorder that causes teens to eat an excessive amount of food in a short period of time. After gorging themselves, they are consumed by feelings of guilt and shame which they try to alleviate by inducing vomiting or using diuretics or laxatives. Although this behavior creates physical and psychological relief, it characterizes the compulsive cycle known as binging and purging.

Teens with bulimia horde food and are overly concerned with diet and calories. Their obsession with food is often caused by poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression and a distorted body image. Although they may look thin to others, they look far less than perfect to themselves. Their sense of self is overly influenced by their shape, size and weight. The disorder primarily affects teenage girls and is predominantly seen in North America where images of the ideal female are promoted heavily in the media.

Getting Help

In order for a doctor to make a diagnosis, your teen will have to undergo some tests, a physical and a urine analysis and blood work. The doctor in charge will look for complications caused by bulimia and once a diagnosis has been made, your child will be referred to a psychologist or therapist who will take a family history, talk to your teen about thoughts and feelings regarding food, control issues, body image and overall self-esteem. The therapist will try to determine the triggers that set off the binge/purge cycle.


Bulimia: What Causes It?

This eating disorder may be caused by one or more of the factors listed below:

Genetics: women who have a family member with bulimia nervosa are more likely to develop the disorder. (This could be due to learned behavior rather than genetic profile.)

Environment: a child who comes from a family in which there is a strong focus on appearance, being thin or a demand for perfectionism. Also, if parents engage in excessive dieting or restrictive eating, teens are likely to follow suit.

Media: many people believe that our society's emphasis on looks (especially that of the rail thin model) places undue pressure on teens to be skinny and try to maintain a prepubescent look.

Dieting: excessive concern with how much a teen eats may lead her to obsess about food which can trigger bulimia and the binge/purge cycle.

Recommended Treatments

There are three treatments for bulimia: psychotherapy (usually cognitive-behavioral therapy), pharmaceuticals and homeopathic remedies. If your teen has been diagnosed with an eating disorder, the natural remedies listed below can supplement other treatments by helping to balance mood and create a general sense of well-being. Since the binge/purge cycle is triggered by stress, anxiety and depression, these all-natural products can help break the cycle and help restore a sense of calm and balance. Parents of bulimic teens have written in to tell us that the following homeopathic, all-natural products have made a significant difference:

  • MindSoothe - helps balance mood and create a sense of well-being
  • PureCalm - helps the nervous system resist stress and balance mood
  • Nerve Tonic - promotes nervous system health and a worry-free mind

Bulimia - Teen Parenting


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