Bulimia is when someone eats huge amounts of food at any one time (binging) and then ridding themselves of that food through by vomiting and laxative abuse (also known as purging) or over exercise.
With Anorexia the person will evaluate themselves through body weight and shape. With Bulimia, only when a binge has taken place they will panic and want to rid themselves of the food they have eaten in case it affects their weight.
Eating disorders in general are often linked with a low self esteem and low self worth. Someone suffering may feel that they have no control over something in their life and the only thing they feel they have control over is their food and behaviours.
They have a false belief that by managing body weight and shape they will be happier.
In truth they are chasing the impossible because once they reach a weight the problems are still there. The individual strives for a bigger weight loss and nothing has changed until the weight loss becomes a medical risk and their self control is 'out of control'.
If the binging is out of control and the compensatory behaviours are excessive then the control is lost and the eating disorder has total control over you!
If someone is at a critical level or life threatening level then that person's medical condition becomes the priority and emotional support or counselling will not be offered until that person is stabilised and their weight is increased to an acceptable level. This will vary depending on the area in which you live but it is considered that a BMI of over 16 is acceptable to start therapy.
A good outcome for recovery is when a established eating pattern is in place, weight is improving at a steady pace, everyone involved is socially aware of their suffering and the steps are put in place to make changes in their life.
If someone has had a lifetime of living with an eating disorder then often it is more realistic to gain management of their illness, feel very proud of changes they have made and the responsibility they have taken to ensure their medical safety.
Any improvement should be seen as a positive with focus being on the 'cup is half full not half empty'!