The Relation Of Bulimia And Panic Attacks
You feel exhausted and unable to stop, yet each time you tell yourself that it will be the last one. Afterwards, you feel disgusting and ashamed. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C
Most people always find things they do not like about their bodies. Hence, they still look for ways to improve their physical appearance through exercising or changing their eating pattern. The problem with this, however, is that they sometimes cross rivers to reach their goal. Some severely restrict eating the whole day or experience abnormal eating habits to prevent unintended weight game. These eating disorders often result in a great deal of harm to anyone.
What Is Bulimia?
Bulimia is considered both a mental health problem and an eating disorder. This condition is characterized by the following:
- Often eat a massive amount of food in just a very short amount of time (over binge eating)
- Use laxatives and other medication to stop themselves from experiencing weight gain
- Make oneself vomit after meals to avoid putting weight
According to studies, this disorder is most common among women in their mid to late teen years.
Understanding Panic Attacks
Eating disorders, such as bulimia, often go hand-in-hand with mental illnesses. One of the most common mental health disorders developed alongside these eating problems is a panic attack.
It is normal to feel stressed sometimes. But what makes panic attacks different from stress is that it does not often show warnings and symptoms. It can be created, which are often severe by nature, even when there is no real immediate danger or threat. It is mostly characterized by repeated and sudden attacks of fear which usually last for minutes or longer.
Some of the prevalent symptoms experienced by someone who suffers panic attacks are the following:
- Abnormal racing of the heart
- Sweating of palms
- Difficulty in breathing
- Attacks of fear
- Dizziness or weakness
- Stomach and chest pain
Whenever there are panic attacks, it is usually challenging and overwhelming to manage.
With the increasing prevalence of eating disorders across all age groups, there is a good chance that at least one teen in the group will have a friend with either anorexia or bulimia. — Lauren Grunebaum L.C.S.W.
Bulimia With Panic Attacks
Food-related issues such as bulimia sometimes cause panic attacks. For example, a person who usually experiences panic attacks may experience an overwhelming fear caused by numerous situations which involve food. Some examples of these include being confronted with the food they fear, eating in front of many people, or grocery shopping.
When someone with bulimia experiences overeating, there is also a significant chance that the individual will experience panic attacks. The moment these people find themselves eating more food from their target, they always worry that they might add more weight. This kind of anxiety often results in panic attacks as well.
These may seem simple day to day activities. However, for a person experiencing both eating disorder and panic attacks, the fear experienced from the mentioned tasks make it impossible for them to accomplish it.
There were a variety of studies which tackled this relationship. In scientific research in Russia, 1500 women were studied, and an overwhelming 95 percent were found to have both bulimia and panic attacks. Consequently, there was also a study of 114 women in England wherein 64 percent of them also experienced both conditions.
From these studies, however, the researchers found out that the panic attack was first to appear and the eating disorders were soon to follow.
It is possible to treat bulimia and panic attacks at the same time, but it is recommended that you seek individual specialized treatments for eating disorders and mental health wellness, respectively.
For those experiencing bulimia, it is best if you consult an eating disorder specialist. Also, be honest about how you are feeling and what your eating habits really are. They will also check your overall weight and health. It is also recommended to bring a friend with you to ease you up in your appointment.
Taking medications under the supervision of your doctor and joining a support group are also some of the options in addressing the said problem.
If you have these disorders, you should also make sure to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of both panic attacks and bulimia. This way, you will be able to address these as soon as possible for better chances of recovery.
Working with a therapist to find effective and personalized coping mechanisms will ultimately help individuals identify and manage thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in real-world situations. — Greta Gleissner LCSW