Bulimia is a type of eating disorder in which the person is preoccupied with weight and body shape, and often judges herself harshly for what she perceives as shortcomings. The person with bulimia engages in episodes of bingeing during which she eats a large amount of food and then tries to rid herself of the extra calories by self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise. Binges often occur in private. A person may eat anything available when home, or may visit fast-food restaurants, secretly eating in the car. After the binge episode, the purging begins. This may mean heading to the bathroom to vomit or working on the treadmill for hours of exercise. Because most people with bulimia are of normal weight or even slightly overweight, it may not be readily apparent that something is wrong.
Bulimia is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Because it's not just about food but also about self-image, it can be difficult to overcome. The aim of treatment is to help the person develop a more realistic view of herself, to feel better about herself, adopt healthier eating patterns and reverse serious complications.