Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.
The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (for example, purging) and does not occur exclusively during the course Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
There are two key features to identifying bulimia – binge eating, and purging. Binge eating is the intake of a very large quantity of food in a short period of time. Purging is getting rid of the food just eaten by forcing the body to vomit.
Bulimia sufferers cannot control the binge eating or the purging and are very upset about the binging most of the time. Bulimics are often obsessed with food and body image, and very often attempt to control themselves, their environment, and their eating, in order to relieve anxiety or distress.
Contrary to popular belief, binging and purging does not qualify as bulimic if body weight is below 85% of the normal body weight. In this case, it would be called anorexia nervosa – binging and purging type. To qualify as bulimia nervosa, body weight must be at or above 86% of the normal body weight for their height.
The exact cause of bulemia is not known, however there are some major risk factors including: