Bulimia and ADHD
A reader asked me about Bulimia and ADHD. She said she was recently diagnosed with severe form of ADHD.
According to NHS: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
In a culture where girls are expected to behave in a certain matter, ADHD creates contention between family members and is a source of embarrassment for family members . She said for years her behavior was labeled as reckless, impulsive, and wild. She said she simply could not get herself organized, no matter how hard she tried, and a simple task of getting something done became overwhelming. She also had a problem concentrating and staying focused on one particular task at a time. She should have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but due to family’s travels and never staying in one place for a long-time, the diagnosis came at a later stage. She’s 20 now and finds that for years the only way to cope with criticism and her odd behavior was to give into excessive eating and then purging. She’s struggled with Bulimia for five years now.
“I found binging and purging soothed something inside me, but since last year my bulimia spiraled out of control, a trip to A&E for low levels of potassium in my body has led to a correct diagnosis of my illness. Finally my family has come to a peace and understanding, they now understand why I behave the way I do. I have entered a treatment program for bulimia and ADHD now. It’s still early days, I am still binging/purging and feel anxious, but I know Inshallah I will soon beat this illness. The best thing is how my family is really being so much loving and caring towards me, especially my mother. She tells me that I will go onto live a beautiful life and strangely I believe her words. Just few months back, we were fighting 24/7. ” 20 YEAR OLD FEMALE Washington DC
I found this brilliant article by Kate Walsh from Bulimia Secrets. I hope it will help you gain better understanding of Bulimia and ADHD.
Bulimia and adhd may have similar symptoms. Here is a story of a person who was trying to cure her bulimia for long years without success. However when she discovered she had ADHD everything had changed for her:))
Read her successful bulimia recovery story;
¨…I would be sooooo happy if my story could help just one person. I would feel like maybe 44 years was worth more than my just being grateful that its over…
Basically, I had ADHD that went undiagnosed because the clinical diagnosis of Eating Disorders always let the physicians, counselors, therapists, etc. say that everything that was happening was due to me being undernourished/bulimic/anorexia/starving myself… But yet they tried all the so called medication – antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and I was even involved in trials like with cymbalta (which I feel is really an evil drug at least for me).
Short time ago, a primary physician told me that he thought I had adhd/add because he had adhd and I showed a lot of the same symptoms but he didn’t pursue it any farther than that… Because of that I started putting in place all the lil’ tips to help me organize or remember or even just talk to people… it helped me become a lil’ more successful than a lot of other people with adhd/add… But I didn’t know about medication & the bulimia was still really going strong (binging and purging 5 to 12 times a day which continued throughout my life)… and the meds well they can do things to speed up the heart and so many people said so many bad things about medication for adhd/add. So years passed….
Well my 5 year old started full day kindergarten and my husband put alarms on my cell, my computer, my ipad and even the home monitoring system that alerted me when the bus was coming so that I wouldn’t forget to get my son… I realized my husband was worried that I would get so distracted and not be there for the most important person in our lives… I needed to see if a doctor could help me with more areas of my life…
I happened on a MD psychiatrist that specialized in adhd (and later I discovered he also specializes in addictions)… CANNOT STRESS
THIS ENOUGH – to find a MD Psychiatrist that specializes in the newest BRAIN research and technology…
Anyway, he started with my birth (who knew) and from what I remembered all this eating stuff started around 3-4 years old… and THAT tripped his interest and he said let’s do this – he asked me if my dad or anyone in my family had adhd/add… I told him that in family therapy, a therapist insinuated/thought that my dad had adhd. He asked me about my life – school, working, relationships, accidents, life, etc. At the end of my first appointment with him – 50 minutes – he said he was going to diagnosis me Primarily with ADHD… I asked him about the eating disorder/bulimia and he said… right now I’m not going to write a diagnosis of that because that is just as relevant as all the other symptoms – I don’t think you necessarily have an eating disorder or and he highlighted all the other “clinical diagnoses” he could use based on all the things that had gone on in my life… Now realize I was binging and purging 5 to 12 times a day… He said he wanted to try a really low dose of Adderall and I said okay if he really thought it might help.
He worked with the pharmacy, my insurance and I got the Rx that day. Within an hour that thing that drives me was gone and now it’s been gone for a really long time… At first, I was waiting for the day that it wouldn’t work; but, it hasn’t come… and still I’m on the original really low dose… AMAZING is all I can say. On top of that all the hypervigilience and trying not to make mistakes is gone and well just a calmness is in me.
Thank you soooo much… I can honestly say that your website, emails, and posts (along with the very few others that are out there) gave me HOPE that I really could get rid of the bulimia/eating disorder & YOU are soooooo needed to counter the medical community and their opinion that eating disorders are virtually untreatable… or that even if you have success, the majority of the medical so-called “specialists” tell you that you will screw it up and return again… I even worked in a hospital (adolescent treatment program) and the professionals basically wrote off almost anyone with eating disorders and wouldn’t even work with them… just sent them off to eating disordered programs (obviously they didn’t know I had it
Kate Walsh: Kate Walsh is the eating disorders’ researcher and publisher who is interested in the psychology behind the eating disorders. Bulimia in particular is the subject of her deep interest. After many years of the research, she has started to share the information which might help people in their recovery.