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28 January 2011

Bulimia - the hidden scourge

Previously, bulimia was nearly exclusively a "white women's disease". However, statistics now show that more and more bulimics are black teenagers.

For decades, bulimia was nearly exclusively a "white women's disease". However, statistics now show that more and more bulimics are black teenagers.

What is bulimia?
Bulimia nervosa is characterised by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate compensatory methods such as purging (self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas) or non-purging (fasting or engaging in excessive exercise).

  • You suspect that your child is binging (in other words, eating an abnormal amount of food in a short period such as two hours) and she doesn't really gain weight or starts losing weight.
  • Your child is continually using laxatives or disappearing into the bathroom for hours after meals.
  • Her teeth show signs of erosion caused by repeated exposure to stomach acid during bouts of self-induced vomiting.
  • Her behaviour is anxious or out of control.
  • She exercises to exhaustion or fasts in between bouts of gorging.
  • You feel she's trying to cover up something.

 
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