If you’re a parent or friend of an individual who is caught in a dangerous cycle of binging and purging, you may be searching for a way to offer help or support. However, in order to be prepared to offer the help that they need, you must first understand what occurs in the cycle.
First, your friend or child will binge. This often is done in secrecy, as many individuals who suffer from eating disorders feel intense shame and guilt. Some common triggers for an episode can include stress, feeling depressed, feeling starved, as well as disappointment with the weight or form of their body. Binging episodes are not always planned, but they frequently occur in an absolute frenzy. While in a binging state, many individuals can be completely unaware of taste or sensation.
Next comes the purge. Whether done through vomiting or the use of laxatives, purging is extremely hard on the body. Many individuals purge to avoid absorbing calories because they feel unhappy with their bodies. It is not uncommon for the person to see an individual in the mirror that is drastically different from reality.
Two parts of purging make the behavior extremely harmful. First, the body is robbed of vitamins and nutrients and can create a situation of severe imbalance. As a result, many individuals can become deficient and they can suffer for years afterwards. The second part is the stress it inflicts on the body. Muscles used to vomit and control the bowels can be damaged, including the bodily structures involved, such as the intestines, esophagus, and mouth. Together, binging and purging create a disastrous cycle that can be very difficult to break.
It goes without saying that binging and purging is unhealthy, but few people are aware of how dangerous the cycle truly is. In order to correct this behavior, professional help is not only frequently required, but is also strongly recommended. Due to the psychological effects that can linger long after dealing with an eating disorder, you should take no chances by self-diagnosing, or postponing treatment.