New Study Shows that Bulimia Actually Causes Weight-Gain
Though many bulimics engage in binging and purging behavior in order to control weight-gain, a new study shows that bulimia actually tends to cause women to gain weight rather than lose it. The study, led by Drexel University, shows that women hit their highest weights while engaging in bulimic behaviors such as laxative abuse and vomiting to purge after eating binges. In fact, the longer that a woman battles bulimia, the more her weight will climb according to the study.
According to Drexler psychologist Michael Lowe, senior author of the study, the study has important implications. Lowe believes that “[Therapists] can argue that these drastic behaviors really aren’t working” and lead to weight gain.
The study ads evidence to the fact that the binge-purge cycle does not prevent weight gain. Though vomiting and laxative abuse can halt food absorption, those activities do not completely halt absorption. Therefore, consuming thousands of calories during a single sitting can actually cause one to gain weight, even in light of purging behavior.
Though bulimia can lead to weight gain, patients suffering with bulimia nervosa do not tend to be obese. Therefore, it’s best for therapists to focus on the harmful effects that bulimia can have on one’s system. Bulimic behavior can do damage to the teeth, throat and internal organs that is difficult-to-impossible to repair. However, it’s still worth noting to patients that bulimia is not a statistically effective weight-loss solution.
Though purging behaviors associated with bulimia are normally considered disgusting, they can actually create a sense of comfort. “[Binging] creates physical discomfort, so self-induced vomiting is both psychologically and physically a relief,” according to Michael Lowe. “Bulimics get stuck in a bind.” Breaking this cycle of behavior often requires that an individual enter a bulimia treatment program.
Many individuals who are struggling with bulimia require extra help in order to abandon their bulimic behaviors. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. A bulimia treatment program can provide you with the life skills that you need to engage in healthy eating behavior. By focusing on proper nutrition, you can remove the risks involved in sustaining bulimic behavior over long periods of time.