Untreated bulimia can lead to several other health problems from the repeated vomiting, included chronic gastric reflux, inflammation of the esophagus, dehydration and low potassium, ruptures in the wall of the esophagus, as well as trauma to the back of the throat from trying to trigger the gag reflex. The teeth can have severe dental erosion from the acid from the stomach. Constant vomiting and laxative use can cause severe electrolyte imbalances which may sometimes lead to heart arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest. Patients with bulimia frequently suffer from mental disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders, and sometimes have anorexia as well.
People with bulimia often have other mental health conditions, including:
- Substance abuse problems
Someone with bulimia may also have a distorted body image, shown by thinking she or he is fat, hating her or his body, and fearing weight gain.
Bulimia can also cause someone to not act like her or himself. She or he may be moody or sad, or may not want to go out with friends.