Battling Bulimia: Awareness

Battling Bulimia: Awareness

School: Louisville Collegiate School                                  Class: Medical Problem Solving II

The Background

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder often found by binge eating and then purging afterwards (or using other methods of avoiding weight gain). Bulimia is a mental illness that often begins in the late teens or early adulthood that requires treatment. People with bulimia believe that they need to excessively manage their weight; however, not all people with bulimia are underweight.

There are 2 type of bulimia: purging bulimia and nonpurging bulimia. Purging bulimia involves methods like forced vomiting or use of laxatives after binging. Nonpurging bulimia involved methods like fasting, excessive exercise, or strict dieting to limit weight gain.  

The first video above explains and teaches about bulimia nervosa. The second video above gives an idea of what people with eating disorders experience.

Signs and Symptoms*

Bulimia signs and symptoms may include:

  • being preoccupied with your body shape and weight
  • living in fear of gaining weight
  • feeling that you can’t control your eating behavior
  • eating until the point of discomfort or pain
  • eating much more food in a binge episode than in a normal meal or snack
  • forcing yourself to vomit or exercise too much to keep from gaining weight after bingeing
  • misusing laxatives
  • diuretics or enemas after eating
  • restricting calories or avoiding certain foods between binges
  • using dietary supplements or herbal products excessively for weight loss

* if you or someone else you know if having or showing symptoms of bulimia that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. If bulimia is left untreated, it can severely impact your health and lifestyle


The exact cause of bulimia is unknown.
Some causes of bulimia are thought to be:

  • biology
  • emotional health
  • societal expectations
  • stressful life changes
  • history of abuse or trauma
  • negative body image
  • poor self-esteem
  • professions or activities that focus on appearance/performance

Risk Factors

The picture above describes the effects that bulimia has on the body

In the video above, Michelle and Internist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez join The Doctors to discuss how Michelle’s addiction has affected her health.

The Challenge

The infographic above gives scary and eye-opening facts about eating disorders


  • People with bulimia are often normal weight or even overweight
  • Approximately 1 in 10 people with bulimia receive treatment
  • There is an increased risk of suicide among those with bulimia nervosa
  • 30-70% of those with bulimia also have an addictive disorder
  • Self-harm is a common related condition affecting 34% of those with bulimia
  • 5% of American women suffer from bulimia nervosa in their lifetime

Raising Awareness

Awareness about bulimia is severely lacking in our society. There is often the idea that all eating disorders have to do with food, appearance, or beauty, when in reality, eating disorders are a complex medical and mental condition. There is not enough education about these types of issues. Many people do not even know the difference between anorexia and bulimia; many also believe that all people struggling with an eating disorder are skinny, which is not the case. If we educate more people on the issue of bulimia and other eating disorders, it might help dispel the myths surrounding the issue as well as decrease stigma and encourage treatment.

The Solution

How to Raise Awareness

Posters containing information and statistics about eating disorders and bulimia could be placed in places like schools. These posters could also have ways to spot someone struggling from an eating disorder; it would also be very important for “next step” information (such as therapy options or a hotline) on the poster in case the reader of the poster needed some professional aid.

All of the infographics above give statistics, consequences, symptoms, and warning signs of eating disorders

As well as posters, speakers could go to school and share their story about overcoming an eating disorder, or the could even simply just talk to the students in hopes of spreading awareness. Eating disorder walks could also be organized in hopes of funding programs that help treat and aid people struggling from an eating disorder.

What is Next?

Change in School

Many people that might have bulimia (or other eating disorders) might not want to ask for help or talk to someone about their issues. I believe that it would be useful to train school counselors to help notice signs of eating disorders (not just physical signs) as well as educate them more in the treatment/recovery process.

Aids and Hotlines

Crisis Call Center
800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863

Crisis Text Line (U.S. only)
Text HELLO to 741741 or message us at to chat with a Crisis Counselor

Call or text 919-231-4525 or 1-877-235-4525

Kids Help Phone (Canada only)

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Association

Ontario Online and Text Crisis and Distress Service (ONTX)
Text 741741 from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Twenty-four hour distress and crisis lines: 416-408-HELP (4357)

(310) 855-HOPE (4673)
(800) TLC-TEEN (852-8336) (U.S. and Canada only)
Or text TEEN to 839863

Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline
800-USA-KIDS (800-872-5437)




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  1. April 27, 2018 by David Long


    This is an informative and eye opening presentation. For example, I did not know that only 1 in 10 people with Bulimia receive treatment. That is a shocking statistic and something that we need to address. Great use of infographics and you are spot on about the need for more education. Great work!

  2. May 03, 2018 by Natalie

    This is such a wonderful and eye-opening presentation! I really enjoyed all of the different videos and sources that you used to portray this complicated issue. I came away from this presentation feeling inspired and hopeful. Great job!

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