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Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia Signs Everyone Should Know

Trusted info on symptoms of bulimia nervosa. Includes early warning signs of bulimia, physical bulimia symptoms as well as behavioral bulimia signs.

It is extremely difficult for someone to admit to being bulimic as bulimics tend to feel a great deal of shame about their disorder . Bulimics are also good at hiding their bulimia symptoms, so it's important for those around them to know the signs of bulimia to catch this potentially deadly disease as soon as possible for the best chance at bulimia recovery.

Early Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

The best time to stop bulimia or any eating disorder is before it starts and knowledge of environmental risks and early warning signs of bulimia can help.

Psychological Signs of Bulimia Induced By Environment

Adolescents often become preoccupied with looks, thinness and fitting in, and while this is normal behavior, this can also be the perfect breeding ground for an eating disorder. Flipping through fashion or health magazines might seem harmless but if the person has internalized psychological issues such as low self-esteem, these images can serve to create a need for the person to strive for unattainable physical perfection.

Psychological risk factors for developing bulimia include:1

  • Low self-esteem
  • Perfectionism
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Obsession with body image and looks

The behavior of one's family, social circle and personal challenges are also risk factors for bulimia:

  • Dieting of other family members, specifically the mother
  • Family history of eating disorders
  • Participating in activities where weight is emphasized such as ballet, gymnastics, weight lifting, figure skating or swimming
  • Being overweight
  • Dieting (dangers of dieting)
  • Being praised for losing weight
  • Personal trauma such as physical or sexual abuse

Last Updated: 14 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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