As defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), bulimia nervosa (usually referred to as "bulimia") is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating often followed by compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain. Some of these behaviors include chemical-, alcohol-, or self-induced vomiting (purging); compulsive exercise; fasting; chewing food and subsequently spitting it out after initially tasting it; using enemas; and using a variety of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including laxatives (chemical and natural), thyroid hormones, and diuretics. Many individuals will purge with multiple methods. Bulimia is practiced by men and women, girls and boys. At this time, there is much more research on women who practice bulimia than on men who do so. However, purging through laxative and diuretic abuse to ...

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