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Women: Are your children OBSESSED by their weight? BATTLING BINGE-EATING.

ANOREXIA is just one of several eating disorders. Bulimia Nervosa starts at around the same age as anorexia but many with the condition manage to hide it for years, so it's only discovered in their early or mid-20s.

It's similar to anorexia in that the person becomes obsessed with food and dieting. But it also involves a cycle of bingeing and purging - eating large amounts of foods such as cakes and biscuits in secret, followed by guilt and depression, which makes the sufferer vomit or use laxatives to get rid of the food.

How to spot it

IT can be difficult to tell if someone has bulimia as they become expert at covering their tracks and don't appear over or underweight. But you may notice these signs...

They become increasingly withdrawn and don't want to go out much.

They're tired all the time and need to sleep more.

They eating healthily at meal times but then you find food or wrappers in their room.

You find containers and wrappers in the bin from food you haven't bought.

The have a constant obsession with weight and calories.

They worry and complain that they are fat.

Cause for concern

ALTHOUGH sufferers are less likely to die than if they had anorexia, the binge/purge cycle can damage the body seriously. Regular vomiting can...

Dissolve teeth Cause heart palpitations Make you tired Cause epilepsy Damage kidneys Cause infertility

Using laxatives excessively can...

Cause constant stomach ache

Stop bowels working properly

Give you swollen fingers

Cause huge weight fluctuations - laxatives only make you expel water, so you'll put the weight back on.

The vicious circle

A CONDITION linked to bulimia is binge-eating disorder. It involves dieting and bingeing in secret, but no vomiting or use of laxatives - so sufferers are likely to put on weight.

Victims use food as an emotional crutch, but put ting on weight fuels the cycle of self-hatred, which in turn leads to more binge-eating.

It's especially hard to spot in children as you may be feeding them healthy meals at home but they may binge eat at school or a friend's house. While it is less dangerous than bulimia, it's very distressing and needs professional treatment.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2006
Words:371
Previous Article:Women: FUSSYEATERS.
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