Eating Disorders Bulimia is an illness characterized by uncontrolled episodes of overeating usually followed by self-induced vomiting or other purging. Alternative names for Bulimia are Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Purge Behavior, and also Eating Disorders. In bulimia, eating binges may occur as often as several times a day. Induced vomiting known as purging allows the eating to continue without the weight gain; it may continue until interrupted by sleep, abdominal pain, or the presence of another person. The person is usually aware that their eating pattern is abnormal and may experience fear or guilt associated with the binge-purge episodes. The behavior is usually secretive, although clues to this disorder include over activity, peculiar eating habits, eating rituals, and frequent weighing. Body weight is usually normal or low, although the people may perceive themselves as overweight. The exact cause of bulimia is unknown, but factors thought to contribute to its development are family problems, maladaptive behavior, self-identity conflict, and cultural overemphasis on physical appearance. Bulimia may be associated with depression. The disorder is usually not associated with any underlying physical problem although the behavior may be associated with neurological or endocrine diseases. The disorder occurs most often in females of adolescent or young adult age. The incidence is estimated to be 3% in the general population; but 20% of college women suffers from it. A cultural and family de-emphasis on physical appearance may eventually reduce the incidence of this disorder. There are several symptoms associated with bulimia such as: binge eating followed by purging, self induced vomiting, inappropriate use of diuretics and laxatives, menstruation is absent or deceased, and overachieving behavior. Bulimia is characterized by a cycle of binge eating followed by purging to try and rid the body of unwanted calories.