Heather Fisher Professional Drug & Alcohol Interventionist


Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. It’s estimated that 4.7 million women and 1.5 million men are currently struggling with bulimia in the United States.

The disorder is characterized by a cycle of binge eating and ten compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or taking laxity to combat the effects of weight gain and binge eating. Bulimia is a disorder acknowledged by the American Psychiatric Association. The criteria for the condition as written in the DSM-5 are as follows:

DSM-5 Criteria For Bulimia

Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:

  • Eating, in a discrete period (e.g., within any 2 hours), a larger amount of food than most people would eat during a similar period and under similar circumstances.
  • Inability to stop eating during a binging episode
  • Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior to prevent weight gains, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
  • On average, binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors occur at least once a week for three months.
  • Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa.

Eating Disorder Screening

Adapted from SCOFF Questionnaire and DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days

NOTE: Addiction is progressive, chronic and 100% recoverable when treated.

Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
For help in selecting the proper level of treatment in your area please contact our office.

Warning signs and Symptoms of Bulimia

Bulimia Nervosa is often present with emotional, behavioral, and physical symptomatology. It can develop at any age, and its causes are influenced by a variety of factors.

Emotional and Behavioral Characteristics Include:

  • Noticing weight loss, controlling eating habits and dieting are of main concern
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • The disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods, lots of empty wrappers, or food waste is hidden places
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals may indicate purging
  • Fear of eating in public or with others
  • Increased social withdrawal and anxiety
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body
  • Extreme mood swings

Physical Symptoms of Bulimia may include:

  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight both up and down
  • Bodyweight is within the normal range, maybe overweight
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw ( from self-induced vomiting
  • Yellow stained teeth
  • Bloated from fluid retention

Consequences of Bulimia

The eating disorder can account for more than unhealthy weight loss. It is important to note that individuals struggling with bulimia may not be thin and could be overweight. Being active in eating disorder behaviors for an extended period can increase an individual’s risk for cancer, infertility, and kidney failure.

Resources and Help For Bulimia

If you or someone you know is struggling with bulimia or any of its symptoms, helping them get eating disorder treatment could save their life. People with eating disorders are in danger of many health risks and complications. There are many different treatment options for those struggling with weight, binge eating, purging, and other mental health disorders. Struggling with an eating disorder is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s vital that you reach out for help. If someone you love is in denial about the severity of their illness, reach out to Heather Fisher Recovery Services today for a free consultation to see how we can find the best care for your loved one.