Alyssa Mandel is the director of the Mandel Center of Arizona, which treats people with eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa. In addition, Alyssa Mandel is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals.
Patients with bulimia nervosa often eat great quantities of food within very short amounts of time then engage in purging. That is to say, they use vomiting or other means to prevent themselves from gaining weight. The bingeing and purging behavior often arises from self-esteem problems linked closely to body image. Bulimia is a serious health problem that may result in the loss of life.
If allowed to progress unchecked, bulimia may harm the body by repeatedly exposing the tissues in the mouth and throat to stomach acids. Frequent vomiting may cause tooth decay, swelling, and even esophageal tears. Moreover, purging behavior may lead to electrolyte imbalances that could, in turn, cause dangerous heart arrhythmias.
Patients may benefit from bulimia support groups, talk therapy, and nutritional therapy. Since bulimia may be associated with depression, patients could benefit from antidepressant medication.