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Bulimia on the Rise Among Young Women

2012/04/07 | 286 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Many figure-conscious women and youngsters are falling victim to bulimia, a type of eating disorder characterized by repeated overeating and vomiting.

Bulimia patients eat little in order to lose weight, but when their appetite surges, they lose control and go on a binge. Afterwards, they feel immense guilt and fear of gaining weight, throw up intentionally, and exercise violently. If the pattern repeats more than twice a week for three consecutive weeks, the person can be diagnosed with bulimia.

According to analysis by the National Health Insurance Corporation released Sunday, a total of 2,127 women received bulimia treatment last year, accounting for 94.7 percent of the all 2,246 bulimia patients and 17.9 times more than the 119 male patients.

Young people are especially at risk as two out of five patients or 41.3 percent are women in their 20s.

The number of bulimia patients increased from 2,102 in 2007, and the cost of treatment went up 26 percent over the last five years from W452 million to W572 million last year.

Prof. Lee Sun-ku at Dongguk University's Ilsan Hospital said, "Women are more sensitive to fashions and what others think of them, so they tend to be more obsessed with appearance and weight. They also have more difficulty releasing their emotions or stress, so they end up overeating as a way to relieve stress".

He added the real number of bulimia patients is probably much higher because people tend not to seek medical help as long as the problem does not seem huge to them. "They binge eat secretly and are ashamed of it. But it cannot be cured easily without professional medical help", he said. "They need to change their distorted mindset whereby they evaluate themselves based on weight or body figure, and break out of the vicious cycle of overeating".

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