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Bulimia (cont.)

Diagnosis of Bulimia

A history may shed light on the seriousness of the situation, depending on the person's openness regarding the length and extent of their behavior. There is some evidence that people with bulimia and other eating disorders may draw pictures of themselves differently than people without an eating disorder.

Laboratory tests may reveal problems such as low blood sugar. Many electrolyte changes can occur. Low potassium as one of the side effects of laxative or diuretic abuse is common and can be severe. This and other electrolyte changes can cause life-threatening disturbances of the heart rhythm.

Self-Care at Home

Most people with eating disorders are treated by doctors and psychologists without being admitted to the hospital unless a serious physical complication requires hospitalization.

Early treatment is important, because over time this behavior pattern becomes more deeply ingrained and harder to change. People with bulimia who are treated early in the course of the disease have a better chance of full recovery than those who have the disease for years before treatment begins.

As part of a support circle for a person with bulimia, you can be of help at home by monitoring the person's behavior and helping them maintain a reasonable eating pattern. Offer support and encouragement to help the person get and stay in treatment. You can also ensure that the person keeps appointments with doctors and other therapists.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

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Bulimia »

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is one of the eating disorders identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).

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