What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder in which a person has episodes of binge eating and uses ways like vomiting, laxatives, diet pills, exercise, or fasting (not eating for long periods of time) to make up for the calories eaten. Binge eating is when a person eats a large amount of food in a short period of time and feels out of control. During a binge eating episode, someone may feel like they cannot stop eating or that they are unaware of how much or what they ate.

BN is a serious mental health disorder that affects a person's physical and mental health.

Which Risk Factors Can Raise a Person's Risk of Developing BN?

There can be many factors that raise a person's risk of developing BN, including one or more of the following:

  • Certain mental health disorders (such as anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder or obsessive-compulsive behaviors)
  • Genetics or a family history of BN
  • Environmental factors (such as peer pressure, bullying, being around friends and family who diet and/or the media's focus on being thin)

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