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What is Bulimia... And Can it Kill?

The question "What is Bulimia?" is getting asked more and more often... It was searched on the internet thousands of times last month alone...


Bulimia nervosa is an illness that is often linked to anorexia. The difference is that people who suffer from bulimia generally don't starve themselves...

Instead, they eat huge amounts of food in a very short space of time - and then - they freak out!

In an effort to get rid of the calories they just ate... they either throw up, take laxatives or exercise like mad...

This is also called a binge and purge cycle.


Bulimics, like anorexics, often have a terrible self image. They are not happy with their bodies and constantly compare themselves to other people.

Bulimia has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used to hold huge parties where people would consume massive amounts of food - then go and throw up so that they could eat more! The word bulimia in Greek translates to 'Ox Hunger'...

I remember when I was bulimic I definitely had the hunger of an Ox. I could eat and eat and eat - there was a constant void in me which I never seemed able to fill.

Understanding bulimia and why people become bulimic can be quite difficult. It' also hard to find good, honest bulimia nervosa information that explains it. You might find it hard to get your head around why somebody would do this to themselves. To gain a clearer understanding of this illness, please feel free to read my bulimia story.

Now that I have answered the question 'what is bulimia' I will tell you a little about how destructive this illness can be...

Is it true that bulimia can kill?

You bet it is! It was knowing how close to death I was that finally drove me to get help. You must not underestimate the power that bulimia has to both control your life - and take your life.

There are so many physical dangers in bulimia. Possibly the most terrifying is sudden cardiac arrest caused from having a severe electrolyte imbalance. This can cause you to drop dead anytime, anywhere.... without any warning. Death is a very real consequence of bulimia.

When I talk about death from bulimia, I have to mention the tragic case of Terri Schiavo. Terri was bulimic and had a electrolyte imbalance. Because of this she had a massive heart attack which resulted in brain damage. She was placed on a feeding tube to keep her body alive. 15 years later, her husband won a controversial court case which allowed her feeding tube to be removed. It was 2 weeks before Terri's body died of starvation.

Bulimia ia a cruel illness... both in the way it makes people live - and in the way it makes people die.

So, next time you hear anybody ask 'what is bulimia?' please be sure to tell them... Bulimia is a tragic illness which eats away at you one bit at a time. It ravages every piece of your being.

If you, or somebody you know suffers from bulimia - make sure that they get help. Treatment for bulimia is the best way to ensure recovery.

All the best,



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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program