Teen Talk 6-3

By Rodneya Ross  

You are hanging out with a group of friends. You all go to the movies then out to eat at your favorite restaurant. At dinner your friend Leah orders her food as usual. When the food arrives, Leah practically inhales the food, and then excuses herself to the bathroom. A few minutes later you also excuse yourself to the restroom. You go into the bathroom and you hear someone throwing up. Leah comes out of the stall and her eyes are bloodshot. You ask her if she is okay and she says that she is fine. Later you and your friends are at a clothing store trying on clothes. Leah complains about everything she tries on saying she is too fat. You and your friends are starting to get worried about her. You think she may be bulimic, but you’re not exactly sure. Here are the causes and affects of bulimia along with some signs and symptoms to help you identify a bulimic person.
    Many people do not exactly know what bulimia is, and they often confuse it with anorexia. Bulimia is a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by and intentional purging. (Cite: http://en.wikipedia.ort/wiki/Bulimia_nervosa) A binge can be triggered by dieting, stress, or uncomfortable emotions such as anger or sadness. (Cite: http://www.4woman.gov/faq/Easyread/bulnervosa-etr.htm) There is no single known cause of bulimia, but there are some factors that may play a part.
    A person’s culture can be a cause. Women in the US are under constant pressure to fit a certain idea of beauty. (Cite: http://www.4woman.gov/faq/Easyread/bulnervosa-etr.htm) We try so hard to be skinny like the people we see on tv and it’s affecting our health.
    A person’s family can also be a cause. If one your family members had or have bulimia you are more likely to have it because your family will put it in your head that you have to be skinny, and you will try to live up to their standards.
    Life changes or stressful events can be another. If you had some kind of life threatening or traumatic event happen you can become bulimic as a way to cope with the stress.
    Personality traits can also be a cause. If you have low self-esteem, you will try hard to be thin and perfect to the extent that you may damage your body.
    There are many different affects on bulimia. Malnutrition is one of them. Malnutrition is when your body does not get the proper nutrients needed to function correctly.
    Another affect is infertility. Infertility means that you will not be able to give birth to a baby.
    Bulimia also affects pregnancies. You can have a miscarriage or a stillbirth. The baby may be born early and have a low birth weight. And there is also a chance that the baby will be born with birth defects such as blindness or mental retardation. There could also be depression in the mother after the baby is born.
    Other affects of bulimia are heart failure. Potential death caused by heart attack or heart failure; lung collapse; internal bleeding, stroke, kidney failure, depression, and suicide.
    It is sometimes hard to determine if a person is suffering from bulimia or not. This is because a person may be thin, overweight, or have a normal weight.
    There are some signs that may help you recognize if a person is suffering from bulimia.
o    They may exercise a lot.
o    They may be going to the bathroom all the time after eating (to throw up).
o    They may use diet pills, or take pills to urinate or have a bowel movement.
o    They may show signs of throwing up such as:
o    Swollen cheeks or jaw area
o    Calluses or scrapes on knuckles (if using fingers to induce vomiting)
o    Teeth that are clear or,
o    Broken blood vessels in they eyes

Bulimia can be harmful to your body and very bad for your health. If you know someone suffering from bulimia you should talk to them and try to help them. Bulimia affects about 10% of college age women in the United States, about 10% of individuals diagnosed with bulimia are men, and 10% of individuals suffering from bulimia will die from starvation, cardiac arrest, other medical complications, or suicide.
Leah’s friend got help for her. Now Leah is healthy and living a good lifestyle. She talks to many different youth groups about bulimia and telling them about the causes, affects, and symptoms of bulimia.
        If you are suffering from bulimia you can get help too. Talk to someone you know well and trust. You can talk to a parent, an older sibling, and aunt or uncle, a teacher, or a counselor. Or you can call 1-800-931-2237 or 1-888-236-1188, and talk to someone who can help you get better. You deserve a happy ending just like Leah.

Rodneya Ross is a 16 year old and she attends Cass Technical High School in Detroit, MI.