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Bulimia: Not a female disorder

Mar 20, 2006 06:54 PM IST India India

Berkley: Jay Peruman looks away so he can't see what his weight scales on the weighing machine as he steps on it.

Jay is recovering from a psychological disorder called Bulimia. Three years ago at the age of 17, Jay started going on an eating binge. So much so that at times he will just eat and eat and then vomit it out. Jay has also resorted to inappropriate methods of weight control.

"It was out of control from the start. I was just binging and purging three-four times a day," he says.

Bulimia, also known as bulimarexia, is an eating disorder, common especially among young women of normal or nearly-normal weight that is characterised by episodic binge eating, which is followed by guilt feeling, depression and self-condemnation.

Bulimia is often associated with measures taken to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, dieting or fasting.

Women, especially adolescent girls, are susceptible to this disorder. But Jay would soon learn that he's not alone. An estimated 10% of people in the United State who suffer from eating disorders are men. Jeff Everts is one of them.

"It was not that I was worried about getting fat. I just wanted to be lean as a football player," Bulimia patient JefF Everts says.

However, both Jeff and Jay have now started taking professional help. They go for treatment in a hospital in Wisconsin.

Dr Theodore Weltzin of Rogers Memorial Hospital runs the treatment programme. Dr Weltzin says in recent years more and more men are being diagnosed with eating disorders.

"Six pack abs and having this ripped abdomen is a way of somehow being happy and being successful. And also of having a good relationship. That is the message going out. That’s why we are seeing a greater rate of males with eating disorders," Dr Theodre adds.

An estimated 10% of people with eating disorders eventually die from the illness. Experts also say that with help most people like Jay and Jeff can get treatment and lead a normal life, but for others it's a life-long struggle.

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