Bulimia eating disorder or binging and purging cycle is hard to stop and there are a number of reasons why…
When someone initially starts binging, it is generally a response to the messages from the brain to EAT.
The overwhelming uncontrollable urge to eat is part of a primitive survival mechanism that always makes the bulimic seek out and eat food because the brain thinks there is a famine. It has no idea the availability of food is widely available and that the person is trying to follow a restricted diet.
And because the binging is followed by purging, the body is kept in a continual state of hunger and seeks to eat food. Hence, this leads to the growing obsession with food and the uncontrollable urges to binge and goes on to the usual bulimic experiences.
The thing is from the moment of the first binge the brain is being sent powerful messages.
Binging is Pleasurable
The denied foods that are eaten taste great and this feels good. Any tension created from trying to stick to the rules of a diet or to resist certain foods dissipate as they let go and give into the cravings and eat what they want – and this feels good, too. A strong cocktail of feel good chemicals are released, and the brain registers pleasure and then connects the pleasure with the binge food.
This powerful message is stored in the brain so that the next time the urge to binge is there, the memory that binging is pleasurable jumps into the foreground – making the urge that much harder to resist and any feelings of disgust about purging fades into the background.
As the urges to binge become more frequent and the more someone gives in to them, the more hardwired the behaviour and the secondary benefits become in the brain. Before long, the cycle of binging and purging has become an addictive habit.
Human beings are naturally pleasure-seeking and when suffering from bulimia there is a lot of stress and anxiety. The sufferer has a lot of negatives thoughts and feelings about themselves and their body.
So whenever and for whatever reason someone suffering from bulimia is upset, their brain remembers how to quickly get that pleasure and sends a signal to binge.
As the habit develops, more associations are created and the behavior is acted out in ever increasing situations, which further reinforce the behaviour and the maintenance of bulimia.
Not knowing what’s going on their actions which seem totally out of their control is unavoidable. The cycle of binging and purging seems very hard to stop.
And if that were not enough, there are many false myths and misconceptions about bulimia that maintain its presence in some ones life keeping them further trapped.
Understanding how the brain works, in particular how habits are formed and the role of thinking is paramount to regaining personal power and recovering from bulimia.