Discussions and misunderstandings arise during relationships, among other circumstances that the couple will have to overcome. But sometimes the problems are more complex and it is not that easy to find the solution.
In this article we will look at a number of advice for people who are considering, “my girlfriend has bulimia: what should I do to help her?”.
What is bulimia?
The first thing to do in these cases is to fully understand the situation you are facing and its effect on your partner’s mental health (and by extension, physical health). Next, let’s see what bulimia represents for a person.
Bulimia nervosa it’s an eating disorder. The person affected by this mental disorder feels the irrational urge to eat food, and does so compulsively in a short period of time (binge eating), then performs purging rituals.
What follows after the binge is the feeling of intense guilt, which leads the subject to want to repair the “damage” caused by eating this way, and look for ways to get food out of your body. Induced vomiting is the best alternative.
There are several ways the person can try to expel these foods, which can be as follows:
- Voluntary induction of vomiting.
- Excessive intake of laxative.
- Excessive intake of diuretics.
- Strenuous and excessive exercise (does not necessarily cause vomiting).
This disorder is much more common in adolescents and has a higher incidence in women than in its male counterpart.
Now let’s see what are the symptoms of bulimia.
Symptoms of this eating disorder
The most notable symptoms of bulimia they are easily highlighted by the immediate environment of the affected person, And are primarily related to mood and body weight. Let’s see what they are.
- Noticeable changes in body weight.
- Intense feelings of insecurity.
- Afraid of the idea of gaining weight.
- Wear and tear of tooth enamel, caused by excessive vomiting.
- Intense depressive states.
- Poor impulse control.
- Stomach problems.
- Irregular periods.
- prolonged fatigue.
- Affective lability (rapid changes in mood).
- Body dysphoria (rejection by one’s own body).
What if my girlfriend has bulimia?
Now that we are clear about the concept of this disorder and what are its main symptoms, let’s move on. how can we help our partner with bulimia nervosa.
Here are some tips for providing the best support and care for your partner in this complicated situation.
1. Know the information about the disorder
It is essential that you educate yourself on this disorder with the intention of give your partner the information they need to understand that this is not appropriate behavior.
Being a supportive figure for her will allow her to listen to you better and pay attention to you.
Also, to know better what this disorder is it will also prevent you from sinking into anxiety about your girlfriend’s situation, And this way you will be able to help in the best way.
2. communicate the situation to relatives
It is really important that you let her family know about the bulimia situation, especially the parents, as they may not be aware or have the necessary information about what is going on with their daughter.
Most adolescents generally do not explain uncomfortable situations to their parents, and given the possible depressive image that the subject may present, it makes it even more complicated for him to want to tell his loved ones about it.
As a romantic partner, you need to take the initiative to explain to your immediate family what the situation is and provide them with the information you have gathered to help your partner.
3. Show empathy for her
When you come up with the idea of ”my girlfriend has bulimia”, at the beginning, it is possible to feel a certain isolation by not understanding the reasons which push her to do so.
But empathy goes beyond a simple rational analysis of what makes a person behave the way they do, so strengthening the empathic bond and embodying it in the way you communicate with them will help.
The situation your girlfriend is going through is not her fault; it is a disorder of which he is currently a victim. You should therefore avoid berating her or saying things that make her even more discouraging, such as downplaying what is happening to her, for example.
Ideally, you should always try to put yourself in their shoes, imagine how it feels to go through this situation. From there, from the squeeze, you will get what you need to help her, always staying positive and empathetic with her.
4. Seek professional help
It is absolutely essential to undergo psychotherapy. If you need to, you can attend to show that you are genuinely interested in its rapid improvement, which would be a source of support and motivation for your partner to move forward.
Convincing her to seek help from a psychologist is one of the most important steps in helping her recover.
- Hay, PJ, Mond, J., Buttner, P., Darby, A. (2008). Murthy, RS, ed. Eating disorders behaving: results of two sequential community surveys in South Australia. PLOS ONE. 3 (2): e1541.
- Palmer, R. (2004). Bulimia nervosa: 25 years later. The British Journal of Psychiatry: Journal of Mental Science 185 (6): 447-448.