Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by the repeated rapid consumption of large amounts of food (binge eating), followed by attempts to compensate for the excess food consumed (for example, by purging, fasting, or exercising).
Individuals eat large amounts of food, then make themselves vomit, use laxatives, diet, fast, or vigorously exercise to compensate.
Medical professionals suspect the diagnosis when individuals are overly concerned about their weight and their weight fluctuates a lot.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI, a type of antidepressant), or both may be used to treat the disorder.
As in anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa is influenced by hereditary and social factors.
Also as in anorexia nervosa, most individuals who have bulimia nervosa are young women who are deeply concerned about body shape and weight.
Bulimia nervosa affects mainly adolescents and young adults.
In a given year, about 1 in 100 young females have bulimia nervosa.
The disorder is much less common among males.