Six Common Myths About Bulimia Nervosa, Debunked

With the complex nature of bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders, it is easy to see why misinformation and myths cloud reality when it comes to these conditions. Clearing up misunderstandings about eating disorders can help remove some of the barriers preventing people from seeking bulimia nervosa treatment. Therefore, it is worth the time to debunk myths about bulimia eating disorder and similar conditions whenever possible.

With the elimination of myths about the causes and signs of bulimia nervosa, people can open dialogue about eating disorders to help their loved ones understand their need for care. Clearing up misinformation about bulimia nervosa side effects and symptoms can also help promote the pursuit of becoming recovered from eating disorders. We will begin with the following six common myths about bulimia nervosa, debunked.

MYTH: People choose to have bulimia nervosa

Myths abound about the causes of bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders, and this one could be one of the most harmful. People do not choose to have an eating disorder, nor do they cause the condition by thinking or acting a certain way. Perpetuating this myth hurts people with eating disorders by placing unfounded blame squarely on their shoulders. They may respond to those allegations by shying away from talking about their condition or shutting out people altogether. The urge to isolate is often extremely strong in people with signs of bulimia nervosa due to the way their disordered thoughts and behaviors affect their lives, so dispelling this myth is extremely important.

The actual causes of bulimia nervosa are highly complex and unique to every individual. A combination of social and biological causes tend to influence the onset of eating disorders at any point in adolescence, the teenage years or adulthood. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both partially influenced by genetics, especially in relation to the way the brain processes dopamine and handles stress. Medical conditions that influence hormone secretion rates, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, can also contribute to the development of eating disorders.

Media and peer influences can also contribute to the development of eating disorders in adolescents, teens and adults. The media tends to promote the pursuit of an ideal body shape and size for both men and women. Since media portrayals center around unrealistically edited images, the promoted pursuit of the ideals can lead to disordered thought patterns and behaviors common with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

With an exploration of the complex causes of eating disorders, it becomes clear that neither patients nor their parents can cause eating disorders to develop. The genetic and environmental factors add up to increase risk and potentially trigger the development of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

MYTH: Bulimia eating disorder cannot cause any harm

The wide range of experiences with bulimia eating disorder contributes to this myth. The belief that bulimia eating disorder cannot cause any harm is a highly dangerous myth because it could not be further from the truth. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bulimia nervosa side effects can take a serious toll on the overall health of the patient.

Although each patient’s experience is unique, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have the potential to be life-threatening. A chronic lack of adequate food intake and the resulting nutrient deficiencies can put excess stress on the heart and other internal organs. Medical diagnoses can take longer than normal due to the complex lab findings common in people with eating disorders, potentially putting the patient’s health at risk until the cause of their symptoms can be found.

From dizziness to difficulties concentrating, even minor bulimia nervosa side effects can seriously disrupt the daily lives of people with this eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa can cause patients to experience daily stomach cramps, fainting episodes, sleep issues, facial swelling and muscle weakness. In people with purging behaviors, tooth decay and erosion can become a serious issue over time.

Bulimia can co-occur with a number of mental health conditions, which only serve to complicate the process of becoming recovered. Furthermore, this eating disorder and many others can trigger the development of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health conditions. The risks of bulimia nervosa side effects are many and worth paying attention to. By sharing information about the health complications caused by bulimia nervosa, it is possible to help patients find the motivation to go to bulimia nervosa treatment.

MYTH: People with bulimia nervosa are not at risk until they are visibly thin

Simply looking at a person will not tell anyone much about their physical and mental health. Similarly, there is little to learn with a single glance at the size of a person with bulimia nervosa. In fact, this condition frequently affects those who are at a healthy weight or above.

Instead, it is best to assume that anyone with disordered thoughts and behaviors related to bulimia nervosa or any other eating disorder face serious risks. People who engage in binging and purging behaviors, for example, can quickly experience electrolyte imbalances that can affect their heart function. Furthermore, bulimia nervosa side effects and symptoms tend to escalate with time until the person affected by them decides to seek and accept treatment.

Due to how quickly these conditions escalate, people with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa benefit from receiving the prompt care and oversight of skilled eating disorder specialists. People with these eating disorders can quickly develop serious health complications well before they ever look thin. Due to the nature of bulimia nervosa, many patients may never drop below a healthy weight, which can act as a barrier to acquiring bulimia nervosa treatment.

MYTH: Signs of bulimia nervosa are easy for anyone to see

The occasional glamorization of bulimia nervosa in the media contributes to the spread of this myth. The fact is that the signs of bulimia nervosa can be difficult for people to see, especially when looking at their loved ones. This is especially true for those who never become medically underweight or discuss their struggles with disordered thoughts. Furthermore, people with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa tend to isolate in order to hide their symptoms and side effects from everyone around them.

Not all people with bulimia eating disorder exhibit the same signs and symptoms. Not all people with bulimia will purge their food, for example, which causes misunderstandings about the nature of the condition and its risks. The wide variation of experiences with eating disorders truly makes it difficult to clearly see when someone is starting to develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

By working with skilled professionals at bulimia nervosa treatment centers, however, parents and caregivers can acquire the help they need to see the signs and create a plan of action. If there are fully recovered staff at the treatment center, they may be able to help share the risks of disordered eating and the benefits of recovery on a first hand basis. As patients move through the treatment levels, all treatment team members provide guidance and support to help each individual become and remain fully recovered.

MYTH: Only women and girls can have bulimia nervosa

Media influence has also perpetuated the myth that only women and girls can have bulimia nervosa. The truth is this condition does affect females more often, but boys and men are also susceptible to developing eating disorders. Men and boys face similar societal pressures and have the same risks of specific genetics increasing their susceptibility.

The signs of bulimia nervosa present differently across all patients, with gender having some influence on the side effects experienced by the patient. For example, women and girls are more likely to experience urges to fast, binge eat and check their bodies than men and boys.

In addition, males tend to under report their eating disorders and seek bulimia nervosa treatment far less often than their female counterparts. This lack of reporting can skew the results of studies used to better understand the effects of eating disorders on men and women. The absence of an open, honest dialogue about eating disorders in men and boys also serves to perpetuate the spread of this potentially harmful myth.

MYTH: People can easily recover without professional bulimia nervosa treatment

Simply stopping the destructive behaviors is not a viable treatment option. The bulimia nervosa treatment process must revolve around the elimination of symptoms, including the disordered thought patterns common with this condition. Furthermore, bulimia nervosa treatment programs focus on treating and managing underlying mental health conditions that could be contributing to the development and maintenance of the eating disorder.

To begin on the path to recovery, people with eating disorders must partner with highly-trained and knowledgeable treatment providers. Bulimia nervosa treatment centers like Oliver-Pyatt Centers have full teams of doctors, nurses and psychiatrists caring for each patient as they work through treatment and toward their path to recovery.

Understanding Where These Myths About Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa Prevail

The myths about anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa spread through the media, online and in direct conversations. These inaccurate messages are found in music, films, online video content, books, magazines and many other avenues. Partially due to their sheer prevalence, the inaccuracies contribute to the negative perceptions people face when speaking out or seeking bulimia nervosa treatment.

Therefore, without debunking these myths, this misinformation can act as a barrier to those who are in need of bulimia nervosa treatment. Only through the promotion of accurate informative and facts about bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders is it possible to debunk these myths for good. Promoting understanding about bulimia nervosa side effects, symptoms and causes can help remove the stigma surrounding this condition and other eating disorders.

Helping Loved Ones Acquire Care for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

When it comes to seeking bulimia nervosa treatment, many people hesitate to reach out and share their difficulties with those around them. This hesitation can leave people dealing with disordered thoughts and behaviors that continue to worsen over time. Furthermore, the health risks multiply as the body sustains damage from a lack of calories and nutrients.

Loved ones can help mitigate these issues by talking about anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, along with all the other eating disorders, on a regular basis. Opening up the dialogue and sharing accurate facts about eating disorders and their symptoms, causes and treatments can help people feel comfortable seeking care.

To acquire care from a skilled bulimia nervosa treatment center, please call 866-511-4325 to speak to the admissions specialists at the Oliver-Pyatt Centers. The fully recovered staff provide compassionate care and treatment for bulimia eating disorder to help restore the health and well-being of their patients.