Bulimia is an eating disorder marked by consumption of large
quantities of food at one sitting, followed by induced vomiting of
taking laxatives to get rid of the body food. It usually affects young
women, especially adolescents, but is observed in older women and men
also. People with bulimia are often obsessed with food and self
gratification, and the disorder frequently accompanies Anorexia Nervosa.

Such behavior stems from psychological difficulties involving a
compulsive desire for perfection, poor self-image, and stressful familt
relationships; depression is also common. Research in the late 1980's
says that bulimia itselg, however, may be caused by impaired secretion
of a hormone, chlecystokinin (CCK), that normally induces a feeling of
fullness after a meal.

Severe medical problems can result from bulimia nervosa, such as
nutritional deficiencies and hormonal changes leading to menstrual
irregularities. Where bulimia has been present for a long time,
metabolic imbalance and heart disprders can occur. Treatment is most
successful when medical therapy and psychotherapy are combined.