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Like anorexia, bulimia is all about your relationship with food and your weight. With bulimia you control your weight in a constant cycle of over eating and then forcing your body to get rid of it.

When does this happen?

Some people use bulimia as a way of coping with stress, difficult situations, feelings and emotions. Because they feel in control of their eating, they feel better about life, and other stuff which may feel out of control.

What does it look like?

If you have bulimia you want to control your weight and body shape, and you do this by eating lots and lots of food – often called binge eating. You then make yourself sick (or you may take laxatives or diuretics) to get rid of it – known as purging.

Sadly, bulimia can cause serious health problems, including issues with your teeth caused by the stomach acid when you’re sick, chemical imbalances caused by vomiting and laxative use, which in turn can make you feel generally unwell. Your nails, skin, hair and more seriously, potentially your heart, can all be affected by bulimia.

How is it treated?

As with anorexia you need to ask for help as soon as possible. The longer the cycle goes on, the harder it will be to break. You can talk to your GP or school nurse, if you’re still at school. They may refer you to a specialist or give you some self-help guides.

Cognitive Behaviour therapy (CBT) can be used to help to overcome Bulimia

Top tips for getting help

Person illustration Get help – Make an appointment to see your GP or school nurse and ask for a referral to someone who can help you overcome the bulimia.
Try and stick to a regular pattern of eating and avoid skipping meals. If you start missing meals you will become more preoccupied with food.
Food illustration Changing the way you manage your eating can be hard, make sure you have someone you can talk to about how you feel.
Try and identify the times when you are most at risk of over eating and plan other non-food related activities for this time, such as meeting a friend.
Food illustration Make sure you get enough sleep: if you are tired, you may want to keep eating to boost your energy, take a nap or go to bed earlier instead.

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