Sometimes an eating disorder is just the tip of the iceberg, and some susceptible individuals stmggle with two or more categories of emotional, physical, or behavioral problems. This is called "dual diagnosis" or "comorbidity."
One of the most common conditions that occurs with bulimia is depression, which affects between SO and 65% of bulimic women (T. Pearls tein, "Eating disorders and comorbidity," Archives of Women's Mental Health (2002) 4:67-78.) People who suffer from depression have symptoms such as losing interest in things they used to love to do, feeling dejected or hopeless, experiencing changes in how their bodies function, feeling tired out of proportion to their physical activity, having school problems, and thinking about suicide. Bulimia often develops in response to or along with the depression.
More examples of comorbidity are shown in the following statistics: 71% of bulimic women have some kind of anxiety disorder and of those, 59% have social phobia. About one-third have a kind of seasonal affective disorder in which eating disorder symptoms increase in severity in the winter (Pearlstein, 2002). An interesting study has shown that bulimic symptoms seem to be relieved by simple light therapy (Mark Moran, "Light Therapy Lessens Bulimics' Binging and Purging," WebMD Medical News, April 6, 2001).
Genetics also seem to play a role in the depression-bulimia connection. Researchers already know that if you've had a close relative with depression, you're at greater risk for developing the same illness.
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