A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune
Facts about bulimia

What is an eating disorder? An eating disorder is an obsession with food and weight that harms a person's well-being. Although we all worry about our weight sometimes, people who have an eating disorder go to extremes to keep from gaining weight. There are 2 main eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

What is bulimia? Bulimia is eating a lot of food at once (called binging), and then throwing up or using laxatives to remove the food from the body (called purging). After a binge, some bulimics fast (don't eat) or overexercise to keep from gaining weight. People who have bulimia may also use water pills, laxatives or diet pills to "control" their weight. People who have bulimia often try to hide their binging and purging. They may hide food for binges. People who have bulimia are usually close to normal weight, but their weight may go up and down.

What causes eating disorders? Doctor don't know exactly. Possible causes include feeling stressed out or upset about something in your life, or feeling like you need to be "in control." Society also puts a lot of pressure on people to be thin. This pressure can contribute too.

Can eating disorders be treated? Yes. For people who have anorexia, the first step is getting back to a normal weight. If you're malnourished or very thin, you may be put in the hospital. Your doctor will probably want you to see a dietitian to learn how to pick healthy foods and eat at regular times. For both people who have anorexia and bulimia, family and individual counseling (talking about your feelings about your weight and problems in your life) is helpful.

What are the warning signs of an eating disorder? The following are possible warning signs of anorexia and bulimia:


  • Unnatural concern about body weight (even if the person is not overweight)
  • Obsession with calories, fat grams and food
  • Use of any medicines to keep from gaining weight (diet pills, laxatives, water pills)

More serious warning signs may be harder to notice because people who have an eating disorder try to keep it secret. Watch for these signs:


  • Throwing up after meals
  • Refusing to eat or lying about how much was eaten
  • Fainting
  • Overexercising
  • Not having periods
  • Increased anxiety about weight
  • Calluses or scars on the knuckle (from forced throwing up)
  • Denying that there is anything wrong

Click on this link and complete the Web Quest. Pay close attention to the article about "The Hills" star Stephanie Pratt.  It is the fourth jog, titled, "It Can Happen To Anyone".