Bulimia Nervosa

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Bulimia Nervosa

Within developmental lifespan psychology, eating disorders are often

categorised under the heading of 'adolescence problems' along with

suicide, delinquency, substance misuse and pregnancy. They are

particularly associated with females, especially during the

development stage of adolescence when one's physical, cognitive and

social development leaves childhood and enters adulthood (Seifert et

al, 1997: 333). It appears that young women are more dissatisfied with

weight than women at any other stage of the female lifespan. This is

due to an increase in awareness of their body shape and weight,

therefore accounting for the large majority of eating disorder cases

being adolescent females (90%) (Kayrooz 2001: 20). Problematic eating

behaviours are becoming a growing concern as the number of cases

increase (especially in the last 20-30 years) and especially as

younger age groups are being affected. Bulimia nervosa (bulimia) is

the most common eating disorder today. However it was only identified

as a disorder in 1979 when a rapid increase in the condition was

established (Gross, 2001: 657). Bulimia shall now be studied in

relation to psychological aspects, definitions, prevalence, symptoms,

complications, treatment and possible causes.

"Bulimia is a syndrome characterised by episodes of binge eating

followed by compensatory behaviour such as vomiting and purging, along

with other techniques to compensate for over eating" (Banyard, 2001:

88). Bulimia affects 1-2.8% of the population, yet it is estimated

that 20% of adolescent girls (2.5 million) exhibit less extreme

bulimic behaviours (Graber et al, 1994). Howeve...

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