How Bulimia Nervosa Affects Your Life

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

How Bulimia Nervosa Affects Your Life

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that has major consequences on a person’s life. Bulimia nervosa is a condition in which a patient struggles with body image. In effort to cope with the poor body image the patient will engage in compensatory behaviors. Such compensatory behaviors include restricting diet, excessive exercise, and binging and purging.

Bulimia nervosa has serious consequences on many aspects of a patient’s life. A person with bulimia nervosa will face challenges and consequences regarding a person’s mental health, physical health and relationships.

Mental Health

Bulimia nervosa is closely connected with a person’s overall mental health. A patient who develops bulimia has a low self-esteem. The patient has a poor body image and believes he or she is not valued or valuable. Feelings of inadequacy or discontent with how he or she looks will cause a person to develop bulimia nervosa. A person with bulimia nervosa will engage in symptomatic behaviors as a way to cope with the emotional distress.

Bulimia Nervosa will cause a patient’s mental health issues to worsen. As the patient falls deeper into the symptomatic behavior he or she will internalize the actions. He or she will use binge-and-purge and extreme dieting behaviors in effort to relieve the pain and stress brought about by the emotional issues. This quickly becomes a maladaptive cycle as the patient begins to binge and purge and engage in other bulimic behaviors as a way to cope with any stressors in his or her life.

Bulimia nervosa causes the patient to develop other mental health disorders. Common mental health disorders that can develop in conjunction with bulimia nervosa include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Body Dysmorphia
  • Anorexia
  • Binge Eating Disorder

Physical and Medical Health

Bulimia nervosa has serious medical consequences to consider. There are many uncomfortable, serious, and even fatal side effects of bulimia nervosa. Such side effects include:

  • Dehydration
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Gum disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Stomach pain and bleeding
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Amenorrhea
  • Infertility

Bulimia nervosa has the potential to cause heart failure. The effects of binging and purging and extreme dieting include anemia, irregular heartbeat, and an imbalance of electrolytes. These each contribute to the increased chances of heart failure.


A patient with bulimia nervosa will begin to distance him or herself from family and close friends. The patient will often feel ashamed of his or her bulimic behaviors, like purging, binging and obsessing about body image. It also causes close friends and family to begin to ask questions and try to intervene. In an effort to keep the bulimic behaviors a secret, patients will withdraw from their family and peers.

Bulimia nervosa will cause fluctuations in mood. Bulimia nervosa causes a great deal of stress and strain on the body and mind. Often a patient will face an internal struggle regarding his or her overall self-esteem and body image. This coupled with the exhaustion from the body’s coping with the fluctuations in nutrition and diet causes a person to become irritable and experience mood swings.

Family and friends are often concerned about a person’s bulimia. If you feel you or a friend is suffering from bulimia nervosa or a related disorder it is important to seek mental health and medical attention. This will prevent further complications and get the person in question the help he or she needs.

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