Did Paris Hilton have bulimia nervosa? (+7 associated complications)

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In this blog post, we shall answer the question, “did Paris Hilton have bulimia nervosa?” and discuss it extensively and what its symptoms are. We shall also discuss the risk factors of bulimia nervosa and the complications associated with the illness. Finally, we shall look at the treatment options available for bulimia nervosa.

Did Paris Hilton have bulimia nervosa?

Yes, Paris Hilton suffered from an eating disorder. As she was moving, she left some personal items in her storage and they found their way into the tabloids. Among those items, was her personal journal which had some entries regarding her personal life.

Some of the entries included:

  • Clean house-organize life
  • See Dianne 2x a week
  • Go sober- go for AA at least 2 times a week
  • Eat healthy
  • Start working out at least 3x a week
  • Talk to someone if I feel like throwing up
  • Trust those you are close to
  • Call someone if I feel like using
  • Get a sponsor

Some of these entries indicate that she might have been struggling with disordered eating, most probably bulimia nervosa. We will discuss later the symptoms of bulimia that relate to the entries in her journal.

She has also previously opened up about her disorder and had even checked herself into hospital in 1994. She has always been vocal about her struggles with eating disorders. Before we discuss in depth about bulimia nervosa, let us look at who Paris Hilton is.

Who is Paris Hilton?

Paris Whitney Hilton Reum is an American media personality, media, DJ, model, singer and businesswoman. Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotels. 

She has always had a busy life and at some time confessed to being on the move so much that she relied on junk foods or no meals at all. She had been under treatment for bulimia nervosa and is still on the journey of recovery. Recently, she found herself sentenced to a 45-days jail term for drinking under influence and this triggered anorexia nervosa, another eating disorder.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia is a psychological eating disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating and afterwards, you try to lose weight inappropriately. Binge eating episodes are characterized by consuming large amounts of food uncontrollably in one sitting.

People with bulimia try methods of losing weight after binge eating. A conclusion was made that Paris Hilton had an eating disorder after her journal entry leaked and one of the things she wanted was to call someone when she felt like throwing up. This is one symptom of bulimia nervosa. Others include:

  • Use of laxatives and diuretics. Laxatives are medications used to loosen up stool passage and decrease constipation. They are also used for weight loss. Diuretics are used to reduce fluids from the body which can lead to weight loss.
  • Fasting
  • Enemas
  • Compulsive exercising

Signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa

The signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa can be categorized into physical, behavioural and mental symptoms and they include:

Physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of bulimia include:

  • Food aversion
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Water-electrolyte imbalance
  • Bad breath
  • Dental cavities
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Inflamed oesophagus
  • Weight loss
  • Using laxatives and diuretics
  • Irregular or absence of menstruation
  • Sore throat

Behavioural symptoms

The behavioural symptoms of bulimia include:

  • Self-harm
  • Vomiting after over-eating
  • Impulsivity
  • Compulsive behaviour
  • Lack of restraint
  • Mood swings

Psychological symptoms

The psychological symptoms of bulimia incude:

  • Anxiety
  • General discontent
  • Guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Fear of gaining weight

Some symptoms of bulimia nervosa are not apparent. The red flag to determine if your loved one is suffering from bulimia nervosa include:

  • Having a negative/distorted body image
  • Constantly worrying and complaining that they are fat
  • Not wanting to eat in public
  • Eating an unusual large serving of food in one sitting
  • Strict dieting and fasting after binge eating
  • Exercising too much
  • Frequent bathroom visits during and after meals for long periods
  • Having calluses, sores or scars on the knuckles
  • Damaged teeth and gums
  • Swelling hands and feet
  • Extreme body weight changes
  • Facial and cheek enlarging from swelling glands

Bulimia nervosa tends to start in early adulthood or late childhood. Most cases are realized when the illness is already full-blown as they hide and feel ashamed of their disordered eating and purging methods. Many also feel ashamed when they binge and feel relieved after purging.

Risk factors of bulimia nervosa

The causes of bulimia nervosa are unknown. What we have are risk factors that increase one’s chances of developing eating disorders. They include:

 Genetics

People with close relatives who have had or are struggling with an eating disorder are at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder. Research has shown a possible genetic link to eating disorders. Being overweight in childhood or teenage hood can act as a trigger in developing bulimia nervosa.

Dieting

Many people with bulimia nervosa started with restricting calories and dieting before it became full-blown. Many people with bulimia restrict calories in between binge episodes, which again trigger binge eating and purging.

Emotional and psychological issues

Stress, anxiety and other psychological issues can be a trigger for binge eating. Environmental stressors and trauma can make one have a negative perception of their body image, therefore, triggering bulimia nervosa.

Other warning signs include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • The pressure of media and culture to conform
  • Negative body image

Complications associated with eating disorders

Bulimia nervosa prevents your body from getting the necessary nutrients required by the body and this can lead to complications like:

  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Throat and stomach ulcers
  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Oesophagus inflammation (esophagitis)
  • Heart failure
  • Increased risk of suicide
  • Stomach and intestines damage
  • Electrolyte imbalance

DSM diagnosis of bulimia nervosa

The diagnostic criteria, according to DSM-IV, include the following:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating are characterized by eating an amount of food that is considered large than what most people would have in a short period of time and a lack of control over the amount and time taken to finish the amount of food
  • Recurrent inappropriate means to compensate and prevent weight gain i.e. vomiting, using diuretics and laxatives, fasting or excessive exercising
  • Binge eating and compensatory methods happen at least once a week for three months
  • Self-evaluation is influenced by body weight and shape
  • Binging or purging does not occur exclusively during episodes of behaviour that would be common in those with anorexia

Tests done to determine if one has bulimia nervosa

There is no specific test to diagnose bulimia nervosa. However, your doctor will carry out some tests to narrow down the diagnosis and eliminate the possibility of medical illnesses with similar symptoms.

The tests include:

Physical examinations

  • Bodyweight and height to determine BMI
  • Heart rate 
  • Blood pressure
  • Temperature
  • Check your nails and skin
  • Examine your abdomen 
  • Listen to your heart and lungs

Lab tests

  • Blood count
  • Specialized tests to check electrolytes and proteins
  • Liver and kidney function tests
  • Thyroid function tests
  • urinalysis

Psychological examination

  • Enquire about thoughts, feelings and eating habits
  • Conduct psychological self-assessment questionnaires

Other tests

  • X-rays
  • Tests for pneumonia and heart problems
  • Electrocardiograms

All these tests will help your doctor in making a conclusive diagnosis that will help in treatment.

Treatment of Bulimia nervosa

Medication

Some antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors help in reducing episodes of binging and vomiting. They are also effective in treating depression and anxiety which are common co-occurring disorders among people with eating disorders.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of therapy which helps a person with eating disorders change their negative thinking patterns about their self-image to more positive ones. Therapy also helps them deal with the underlying causes and triggers of their eating disorders. Finally, therapists can help them develop positive coping mechanisms for their life stressors.

Support groups

These will not only help you feel like you are not alone in the journey of recovering from bulimia but will also give you a platform for free association where you can openly discuss the struggles of the illness without being ashamed or feeling guilty. Support groups also help in encouraging each other and keep one accountable.

Nutritive counselling

This involves having sessions with a registered dietitian or counsellor on healthy eating habits to help you get back on track and avoid relapses.

Conclusion

We have looked at who Paris Hilton is and whether she had an eating disorder. We have also discussed extensively what bulimia nervosa is, the signs and symptoms, risk factors, complications associated with it and its diagnosis. Finally, we have looked at the treatment of bulimia nervosa.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.

Frequently asked questions: Did Paris Hilton have bulimia nervosa?

Do supermodels have eating disorders?

Research shows that about 40% of models are suffering from eating disorders. This is due to the pressure of becoming a size zero.

Why are VS models so skinny?

They are expected to conform to an unrealistic standard of beauty and hence go through training of intense workouts and diets.

What BMI do most models have?

The average model has a BMI of 16 which WHO indicates as severely thin.

Citations

India Today, 10 celebs with eating disorders. Retrieved from https://www.indiatoday.in/entertainment/photo/10-celebs-with-eating-disorders-362416-2009-08-20

Psychreel, (March 24, 2022). Does Paris Hilton have an eating disorder? Retrieved from https://psychreel.com/does-paris-hilton-have-an-eating-disorder/

Sarrubba S. (May 11, 2021). ‘It’s Hard To Explain’: Paris Hilton Opens Up On Her Past Abusive Relationships. Retrieved from https://www.thethings.com/its-hard-to-explain-paris-hilton-opens-up-on-her-past-abusive-relationships/

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