Physical signs of bulimia nervosa
“Signs” and “symptoms” are often thought of as synonyms and may appear together when describing the effects of an illness. But the two actually have slightly different medical meanings, and each is an important part of understanding and identifying an ongoing issue.
"Signs” are aspects of the illness that are outwardly measurable. This means a friend, family member or doctor can independently observe or track these factors. And while most signs of BN or other eating disorders manifest physically, they can also appear through a person’s emotions and behavior.
Below are some common signs of bulimia nervosa.
Emotional and behavioral signs of bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa takes a huge toll on the body, but the disorder ultimately originates in the mind. As such, there are a number of emotional or behavioral signs of bulimia, which may be related to the mental health aspect of the condition.1,2
Physical bulimia nervosa symptoms
As opposed to signs of an illness, which can be outwardly observed or measured, symptoms describe the suite of issues that can only be felt by the person experiencing them. While these may be more difficult to track, they can often feel more intense or uncomfortable for the person with the illness or eating disorder.
There are also many common symptoms of bulimia.
Emotional and behavioral bulimia nervosa symptoms
Unlike the signs of bulimia nervosa, the symptoms of bulimia nervosa are more likely to manifest in someone's behaviors and emotions than in a physical way. These effects of the disorder may be some of the most insidious, as they can potentially be both the hardest to detect and the most difficult to change.1,2
When to get help for bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is a serious medical issue that can be potentially fatal if left unchecked. Fortunately, the illness is entirely treatable, with many patients able to make a full recovery after receiving proper help.
If you think you or someone you love may be struggling with any of the signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible.
How to find help for bulimia nervosa
There are a few things to keep in mind when seeking out professionals who can help with BN or other eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa (AN) and binge eating disorder (BED).
As eating disorders impact physical, mental, and emotional health, a comprehensive treatment approach is often the best way to address these diverse issues. Generally, this is performed by a multidisciplinary team of experts, including dietitians, therapists, psychiatrists, primary care physicians, and other practitioners.
When looking for this type of help, you can start by contacting your primary care provider or therapist. These experts can help you secure an eating disorder diagnosis—often the first step toward securing a spot in a treatment program—or guide you in the next best steps.