For many, bulimia leads to weight gain

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A majority of women with bulimia nervosa reach their highest body weight after developing their eating disorder. This happens in spite of the fact that the disease is meant to control weight and is usually characterized by weight loss. A new report from Drexel University underscores the importance of weight history when trying to understand bulimia.

“Most patients lose a lot of weight as part of developing this disorder, and all dedicate significant effort, including the use of extreme behaviors, to prevent weight gain,” said Jena Shaw, a clinical psychology doctoral student in Drexel ‘s College of Arts and Sciences and lead author. “In spite of this, we found that most women also regain a lot of weight while they have bulimia. We want to find out why that it.”

Shaw and her colleagues studied two groups of women from two different studies. One was a two year study out of the Renfrew Center in Philadelphia. The other study was from Harvard and covered an eight year period.

“Most of the women we studied reached their highest weight ever after developing bulimia and before remission,” Shaw stated. In fact, the weights were higher than their weights prior to developing bulimia.

Lowe examines “weight suppression.” This is the difference between a person’s past highest weigh and current weight. Most bulimics have a higher weight suppression value. People with higher weight suppression are more likely to drop out of treatment, less likely to abstain from binge/purge cycles, have greater weight gain and greater time to remission.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, International Journal of Eating Disorders

 
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