Long Term Effects of Bulimia



The long term effects of bulimia are greater than some people realize. There are a number of side effects of bulimia and some of them cause lifelong damage. Some people even die from the disorder.

Bulimia is a disorder in which a person binges on food, then purges by vomiting and/or abusing laxatives so they do not gain weight from all the food they just ate. About two to three people out of every 200 suffer from the disorder, so it is more common than you might think.



Short Term Side Effects of Bulimia

Bulimia wreaks havoc on the body and it leads to emotional damage as well. The common short term effects of bulimia can occur even when someone only binges and purges a few times but the problems grow worse the longer the bulimic behavior goes on. Short term effects of bulimia may not be apparent right away.

Some common short term side effects of the disorder include:

Long Term Effects of Bulimia

The long term side effects are even more frightening than the short term side effects of bulimia. Serious medical problems can result from bingeing and purging over time and in some cases people even die from the disorder. Some potential long term effects of bulimia include:

Dealing with the Long Term Effects of Bulimia

Most of the short term side effects of bulimia disappear after a person stops bingeing and purging but the long term effects of bulimia are usually more difficult to deal with. A person experiencing the long term effects of the disorder will require a significant amount of treatment, including expert medical care and mental health care. Residential care is often necessary, sometimes for several months.

Unfortunately, some of the long term complications of bulimia do not really resolve even with treatment. For instance, some nutritional deficiencies cause permanent neurological damage. Resuming a healthy diet will correct the nutritional deficiencies but the neurological damage will never go away. Correcting the deficiency simply prevents further damage.

Of course, early intervention is the best way to prevent long term side effects of bulimia. The sooner a person with the disorder gets treatment, the less serious the damage will be.

While it might seem that medical treatment of these serious long term complications is most important, people with bulimia really need comprehensive treatment that includes mental health care along with medical care. A comprehensive treatment program that includes medical care, psychotherapy, family therapy, education and nutritional counseling offers the greatest chance of recovery for people with bulimia.






More than the long term effects of bulimia on our effects of eating disorders page

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