Eating Disorders – Bulimia

Mandel Center of Arizona pic
Mandel Center of Arizona
Image: mandelcenter.com

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.

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Symptoms of Anorexia and Bulimia

Mandel Center of Arizona pic
Mandel Center of Arizona
Image: mandelcenter.com

Alyssa Mandel has owned and operated the Mandel Center of Arizona in Scottsdale for more than 12 years. In that time, Alyssa Mandel has treated many patients with such eating disorders as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Although they may present very differently, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa both involve unhealthy and maladaptive behaviors regarding food. Both are approximately 10 times more common in women than in men, and both typically feature increasing worry about weight.

In patients with anorexia, this worry manifests as fastidiously restricted eating. Individuals with this disorder continuously reduce their food intake in an effort to lose weight, even if they have reached a dangerously low weight considering height and age. Preoccupation with weight may also present in the patient with anorexia as fastidious exercise, frequent weight-checking, and hiding the body with loose-fitting clothing.

Patients with bulimia, by contrast, respond to their emotional and mental distress by binge eating. They acquire and consume large quantities of food and eat much more than a normal meal’s worth, most often secretively. The individual with bulimia often feels that he or she cannot control this binge eating, despite the physical discomfort and feelings of shame and depression that follow.

A person with bulimia will typically seek to resolve this discomfort by ridding himself or herself of the vast quantities of food eaten, either by vomiting or through use of a laxative. This process of binging and purging becomes cyclical and compulsive, despite its unpleasant effects on body and mind.

Facts about Bulimia

 

National Institute of Mental Health Image: nimh.nih.gov
National Institute of Mental Health
Image: nimh.nih.gov

Alyssa Mandel is the founder of the Mandel Center of Arizona in Scottsdale. Using a holistic approach to therapy that incorporates various techniques, including cognitive therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and family systems therapy, her practice offers a full range of supportive psychotherapeutic services. Alyssa Mandel often treats individuals who have eating disorders.

While bulimia is typically classified as an eating disorder, it’s important to note that this condition is a mental health disorder rather than a physiological condition. Depression is often a concurrent diagnosis with bulimia. Suffers experience guilt and shame for their condition, which is characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight. Some are often driven to suicide. While bulimia has some characteristics of binge eating disorder, it is differentiated by induced vomiting after a binge. The combination of all these factors highlights the importance of addressing bulimia as a mental health disorder above and beyond simple dysfunctional eating.

Current data from the National Institute of Mental Health indicates that young women are more likely to experience bulimia than any other demographic. Overall, women of all ages show increased instances of the illness as compared to men, although bulimia does stratify across gender, age, and economic categories. In total, about 1 percent of adults experience bulimia in some form throughout the course of their lives.