Can you die from bulimia?

So “bulimia and death” – not the nicest of topics I know! It is something that I generally have a hard time thinking about never mind writing about.

Most of us want to run for cover when we hear about the potential side effects of bulimia, and who can blame us?

I suffered with bulimia for over a decade and I knew almost all of the potential risks and side effects but usually I would bury my head in the sand and do everything I could to not think about the “what if‘s.”

People die from bulimia, but it wont happen to me.

I’d like to say I wasn’t as naïve to think “things like that wont happen to me,” but sometimes I certainly did use that approach.

I knew bulimia had killed people in the past, but for some reason I always presumed I would be lucky and escape. In many ways I was lucky, the abuse I put my body through over the years I probably should have died.

In a moment we’ll take a look at the inspirational story of Mellissa Avrin, a 19 year old girl who lost her battle with bulimia but who is still helping to change the world.

First lets take a look at some bulimia mortality facts – don’t worry I’ll keep it really brief!

Can bulimia Kill you?


Will bulimia kill you?

It’s impossible to say.

All we do know is that while you’re still bingeing and purging you are at an increased chance of death.

A study that came out earlier this month suggests that people with bulimia nervosa are twice as likely to die compared to people who don’t have bulimia or another eating disorder.

How many people does bulimia kill?

Eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of all mental illnesses. The Eating Disorders Association (UK) estimates that 10% of bulimics will die as a result of their bulimia.

In addition to the risk of suicide, “death can occur after severe bingeing and purging in bulimia nervosa”.

To get a better perspective of what this means, bulimia death rates are higher than those of some forms of cancer.

How long does it take to die from bulimia nervosa?

Again this is an impossible question to answer.

In reality you could die from purging just once if you experienced a fatal rupture or a heart attack due to extreme electrolyte imbalance. Some people are more prone to electrolyte imbalance than others.

Some men and women are bulimic for over 40 years and still alive – although perhaps alive but not living.

Where as we have men and women who’ve had bulimia for only a few years who have died due to complications from the condition.

When a death from bulimia changes the world…

At the start of my own recovery I was really touched by the story of Melissa Avrin. A beautiful, creative and successful young woman who had died as a direct result of bulimia.

Mellissa was just 19 years old and had suffered with bulimia for five years.

In this picture you can see Melissa’s mother Judy Avrin holding up a photograph of her daughter.

After Melissa’s death due to bulimia her mother Judy Avrin created “Someday Melissa” a documentary – a story of eating disorders, loss and hope.

Someday is a documentary inspired by Melissa’s journal writings and designed to raise awareness of this insidious disease. (Judy Avrin)

Judy was compelled to change the world so that other families did not have to endure the grief that she had experienced and she is already helping to inspire people to keep fighting for the recovery that they deserve.

I am continually amazed by the dedication Judy has shown, she is truly one of the most inspirational people I know.

When you have bulimia it can be common to think that you’re going to become “another statistic” but that is not how this has to end.

At any given moment you have the power to say – this is not how my story is going to end…

Your life is in your hands.

Recovery may be the hardest thing you will ever do, but you CAN do it.

You are stronger than you think!

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