helping someone with bulimia

For someone suffering from bulimia, getting support from a family or a loved one is crucial. However, dealing with this kind of situation can be confusing, especially if you don’t have any idea about the condition. In addition, having an eating disorder might be a sensitive topic to tackle, which can sometimes be frustrating to fully understand. Discover how to help someone with bulimia through our support guide.


Dealing With Bulimia: An Overview

For someone who is not entirely sure of what having an eating disorder is like, navigating through the struggles of a bulimic person may seem challenging. More so, knowing what goes on in the mind of someone with a distorted body image can be crucial. So many questions run in our mind, like can this eating disorder cause throat cancer, and other related concerns that could possibly happen.

That being said, finding reliable data and becoming familiar with the signs of bulimia nervosa is a great place to start. Our article will discuss all you need to know about what’s behind this eating disorder. We will also walk you towards understanding what someone with bulimia nervosa is going through and share essential tips on what you could do to help them recover. After all, it’s impossible to give appropriate help if you don’t grasp the disorder’s fundamentals.


What is Bulimia?

bulimic person causeBulimia nervosa, commonly known as “bulimia,” is an eating disorder that affects the relationship between mental health and body image. According to the Eating Disorders Association, bulimia can develop on anyone with a distorted body image. It manifests within the person by eating vast amounts of food within a short time, then flushing these calories by taking diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or force vomiting.

However, individuals with this condition may also display restrictive behaviors that closely resemble people with anorexia nervosa. Aside from that, they show prolonged fasting, excessive exercise, or an extreme calorie restriction. These are examples of stringent behavior that adds to the purging portion of their life-threatening food intake cycle.


How to Recognize Signs of Bulimia?

Our perception of what is attractive is generally defined according to one’s social standards. For most of the time, it means conforming to a narrow ideal. While it’s only natural to be worried about how you look, an obsessive concern can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle or other food-related issues. But what exactly qualifies as dysfunctional behavior, and how would it vary from healthy eating habits?

Below are some of the most crucial physical signs of bulimia nervosa that you should be aware of:



  • Excessive eating as an expression of emotional meltdowns
  • Isolation and secrecy of food intake
  • Keeping or hoarding high-calorie stashes of food
  • Imbalance in eating habits



  • Making numerous visits to the restroom or disappearing immediately after a meal
  • Compulsive fasting, intensive exercise, particularly after finishing meals
  • Excessive use of enema, diuretics, or laxatives
  • Constant use of mouthwash and breath mints to hide bad breath
  • Intense discoloration of teeth due to excessive vomiting
  • Frequent diarrhea, sore throat, and stomach upset
  • Taking diet pills


talking to a person with bulimiaRestrictive Eating

  • Obsessively checking calorie intake
  • Fasting or skipping meals
  • Avoiding specific food types
  • Eating extremely limited portions of food
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Going on a diet but does not last long


Distorted Body Image

  • Feeling guilty about the amount of food they eat
  • Constant control of their weight
  • Preoccupation and self-criticism about their appearance


How To Help Someone With Bulimia?

A considerable portion of our population suffers from an eating disorder. However, many of these people are not aware that they have one or choose not to seek help. This is generally due to a variety of reasons. Concerns are:

  • Inaccessibility to resources.
  • Fear of stigmatization.
  • Absence of support from friends and family.
  • Simply a lack of knowledge about treatment alternatives.

With these restraints at hand, how would you assist someone you suspect is suffering from bulimia nervosa Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach to bulimia recovery may not be possible. Nonetheless, there are some methods that you can bear in mind when trying to reach out. Thanks to the National Eating Disorders Association, you can help your family member or friend through these techniques.


Educate Yourself

Perhaps one of the most effective methods to help someone you care about is to educate yourself on their mental health condition. To learn more about the particular problems your family member or friend may experience, we recommend consulting both local and internet resources, such as this article.

Getting to know more about the specifics of this eating disorder may help you understand how you could assist the person you care about. Additionally, you can learn simple ways to guide them through important life struggles or provide a helping hand when they need to talk about their problems.


Discuss Your Concerns at the Right Time

Supporting someone with bulimia by personally calmly voicing your worries is one of the most significant ways to involve yourself. This step is a considerable action, especially if you’re someone close to them. A delicate issue like a possible eating disorder requires an approach with caution, which means you’ll have to set the appropriate moment to bring it up.

Finding the right timing to discuss with your loved one is crucial when dealing with mental health. It is best to choose a moment where there could be no distractions, pointing fingers, and no judgment.


Maintain Patience

how to help someone with bulimiaSuppose the individual you’re concerned about may not be ready to seek professional aid or therapy just yet. In that case, you should not force them to do so. For most people, accepting that we may have a severe condition is challenging. All you can offer is lend an ear while remaining sensitive to their personal sentiments.

Giving your family member or friend ample time and space to feel comfortable with their emotions is essential. But, while doing so, you can also let them know you’re willing to help, no matter the time it takes, which is a good idea.


Treatment Options

It is indeed tricky to navigate the problems of an eating disorder such as bulimia. Purging behaviors generate physical difficulties and mental health concerns. Suppose you are someone with no specific healthcare expertise to assist your family member or friend. In that case, the best course of action is to seek professional assistance.


Final Thoughts

If you or someone you know is showing indications of bulimia or any eating disorder, do not wait until it’s too late. Therefore, please do not hesitate to try out our suggestions. You can also coordinate with your local healthcare providers for medical, mental health, and nutrition advice. In fact, they will be the ones to help you come up with the right treatment plan to resolve your concerns.



National Eating Disorders Association.

The Effects of Bulimia on Your Body.

What Are Eating Disorders?

What is Body Image?