A person with bulimia usually struggles with times of binging (eating a huge amount of food in a very short period of time and feeling out of control while they are over-eating), followed by some type of behavior to make up for a binge (such as vomiting, using laxatives or diuretics, fasting or excessive exercise). When a person has bulimia, they struggle with binging and purging (or fasting, exercise, etc.) at least once a week for three months or longer.
You might not notice that someone has bulimia because they are often secretive about their struggles with food – they usually feel ashamed about it and feel anxious if they can’t purge afterward. A person with bulimia is often fearful that they are gaining weight, they constantly think about losing weight, and are unhappy with their body size and shape. Unlike people with anorexia, if you struggle with bulimia, you might be normal weight or overweight for your height/age – for this reason, it may not be easy for friends or loved ones to notice that you’re struggling with this eating disorder. It’s important to get help if you are struggling with food issues – repeated vomiting and use of laxatives or medications to reduce weight can cause several serious, life-threatening medical complications.