Eating Disorders-Bulimia

Bulimia is a disorder that describes as a person that binge eats and is immediately followed by vomiting and or laxatives to purge the food from their systems, as you mentioned. Freud might consider this an oversaturation of the ID in the personality and is consumed by pleasure based choices. For example, a person with this disorder may come under the attack of the thought to just eat like crazy. This then creates a sense of anxiety in their conscious mind that must be addressed immediately. The person may then resort to a form of cognitive dissonance to then relive the anxiety and find a way to bring the thought process to fruition. So they binge eat to satisfy this anxiety but after the experience feel some form of depression about their actions. This also creates anxiety that must be addressed so they then induce vomiting or use laxatives to address this issue allowing the subconscious mind to be satisfied with the experience. Pathology of this disorder would suggest that people who suffer from this disorder typically have lower levels of serotonin or activity. Binge eating can in some cases cause the stomach to burst as well as causing intestine problems, yellowing of teeth and deterioration of the esophagus. Purging and laxative abuse can also lead to electrolyte abnormalities and lower the level of potassium in the body causing kidney and heart problems. (Harrington et al., 2015)

Have you came across in any of your reading about the contribution (whether positive or negative) of family factors in the perpetuation of the bulimic process?

In the field of psychology there is the argument that family factors may contribute to eating disorders and especially bulimia and treatment actually focuses on improving family dynamics in anorexia patients. Do you have any thoughts as to how family dynamics contribute or even perpetuate this disorder?


Harrington, B. C., Jimerson, M., Haxton, C., & Jimerson, D. C. (2015). Initial Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. American Family Physician, 9146,52A-52,52A.

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