I make myself throw up, but I'm not bulimic - Is this normal?

I make myself throw up, but I'm not bulimic. Is this normal?

I make myself throw up, but I'm not bulimic. Is this normal? No, it is not customary to induce yourself to vomit. It may seem like a way to control your weight or eating habits, but severe health risks can be associated with this behavior.

Vomiting frequently can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other medical conditions such as ulcers and acid reflux.

Additionally, this behavior relies on an unhealthy relationship with food which could worsen over time if left unchecked.

If you feel that you are engaging in this behavior out of self-control or dieting needs, please seek help from a medical professional immediately, as they can provide you with the proper treatment necessary for recovery.

Table of Contents

The Reality of Self-Induced Vomiting

Woman throwing up

The Reality of Self-Induced Vomiting is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening behavior that can have serious long-term effects on a person's physical and mental health.

When someone engages in this behavior, they intentionally make themselves vomit to cope with difficult emotions or situations.

This can be done by using their fingers to induce vomiting or by taking laxatives, diuretics, or other medications. People may also use violent methods such as sticking their fingers down their throats or manipulating an object to cause gagging. 

Related issues

Self-induced vomiting can lead to various physical and mental issues, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Damage to the esophagus and teeth from acidic stomach contents
  • Disruption of the digestive system.

It can also cause severe damage to the individual's body image and self-esteem. In addition, the risk of developing an addiction to self-induced vomiting is high among those who already suffer from an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder. 

Psychological implications

In addition to its physical risks, self-induced vomiting may have psychological implications.

It can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, which can be extremely damaging over time if left unchecked. In addition, people who engage in this behavior often feel a sense of control when they make themselves vomit, which often masks deeper issues that need attention, such as anxiety or depression.

Without proper treatment and support, these underlying problems will go unaddressed, which could lead to more serious health problems further down the line. 

It is vital for anyone engaging in self-induced vomiting to seek professional help immediately to prevent further damage to their physical and mental health. Professional counseling paired with medication, if necessary (such as antidepressants), may be required for a successful recovery from this type of behavior. With proper treatment, it is possible for someone struggling with self-induced vomiting to recover and return to living a healthy lifestyle free from harmful coping mechanisms like this one.

What Causes People to Make Themselves Throw Up

There are a variety of reasons why someone might make themselves throw up, but the two most common are as a result of an eating disorder or a mental health disorder.

Eating disorders

Some people have eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa. This means that they make themselves vomit because they want to control their weight or how they look.

People with mental health issues might see or hear things that are not there. For example, they might think that there are harmful toxins in their bodies and try to get rid of them.

Mental health disorders

Another reason why someone might make themselves throw up is because of a mental health disorder. For example, people with depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses may do this to cope with their feelings and situation.

This behavior can be linked to obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), which involve compulsions like vomiting that are often done to reduce anxiety.

Furthermore, some people may even resort to self-induced vomiting after consuming alcohol or drugs to experience the effects once again.

Therefore, it is essential for healthcare professionals to look out for warning signs of any behaviors potentially associated with these issues and educate patients about the risks involved in self-imposed vomiting.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Self-Induced Vomiting

Self-induced vomiting is a severe condition that can have long-term consequences if not treated promptly. Knowing the signs and symptoms of this disorder is the first step to proper diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding how to recognize these signs is essential to provide early intervention and help those struggling with self-induced vomiting. 

Physical Symptoms 

The most apparent sign of self-induced vomiting is physical. Common physical indicators include:

  • Swollen cheeks or jaw, calluses on knuckles (from contact with teeth during purging)
  • Redness or soreness around the mouth
  • Discoloration on the back of one's hand (from contact with stomach acid)
  • Dry skin, weight loss, and dehydration.

These symptoms may also indicate other conditions, so speaking with a doctor for a proper diagnosis is essential. 

Behavioral Signs 

In addition to physical symptoms, certain behaviors could indicate self-induced vomiting. These can include:

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
  • Excessive use of mouthwash or mints
  • Avoiding social activities related to food consumption, such as lunch dates or dinner parties
  • Hoarding food wrappers or empty containers that could contain evidence of purging behavior
  • Spending large amounts of time in front of the mirror (to monitor body image)
  • I am isolating myself from friends and family members.

When identifying signs of self-induced vomiting, notice sudden changes in habits or lifestyle. 

Emotional Cues 

Self-induced vomiting can also manifest itself through emotional cues. A person suffering from this disorder may experience the following:

  • Feelings of guilt or shame associated with their eating habits have an obsession with calorie counting or weight gain/loss
  • Suffer from depression or anxiety linked to food consumption patterns
  • Exhibit low self-esteem due to distorted body image perceptions
  • Have difficulty concentrating due to extreme dieting practices.

All these emotional signs should be taken seriously when determining whether someone you care about is experiencing self-induced vomiting. 


What happens if I keep making myself throw up?

Consistent self-induced vomiting can have profound health implications as it leads to an electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, which can cause further medical complications.

It can lead to the loss of essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and proteins crucial for the body's functioning.

Frequent vomiting may also damage your esophagus or tear your throat lining, leading to infections.

In addition, recurrent purging may alter the balance of acid and digestive enzymes in your stomach, increasing both short & long-term risks for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

Lastly, because this habit is associated with low self-esteem or depression, it should be addressed promptly.

You must seek help from mental health professionals such as a psychologist or therapist specializing in eating disorder treatment so you can develop healthy coping skills for managing problems & concerns without resorting to unhealthy methods like self-induced vomiting.

Can making yourself throw up affect you?

Yes, making yourself throw up can have a significant negative impact on your health. In the short-term, vomiting can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, leading to physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.

Long-term effects may include poor nutrition due to loss of vitamins and minerals in vomit and damage to teeth enamel from stomach acids. Making yourself throw up also increases your risk of developing an eating disorder like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

If you're struggling with food cravings or uncontrollable urges to eat certain foods, speak with a healthcare professional who can help you develop more positive coping strategies that won't put your health at risk.

How many times do you need to throw up to be considered bulimic?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a person must exhibit two criteria to be diagnosed with bulimia nervosa:

  • Frequent episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise witnessed over a sustained period of at least three months; and
  • Intense fear or concern about gaining weight even when underweight.

Therefore, it is not about how often you need to throw up for your behavior to be considered bulimic but rather how often this compulsion manifests itself over time.

If someone experiences regular binging accompanied by purging (like vomiting), they should seek professional help immediately.

What are the symptoms of making yourself throw up?

Making yourself throw up is an unhealthy behavior with serious health risks and consequences.

The symptoms of making yourself throw up can include nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, faintness, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and an increased risk for acid reflux or esophageal damage.

People who make themselves vomit may also be at risk for developing physical injuries to the throat due to forceful vomiting.

Furthermore, individuals who practice self-induced vomiting are likely to engage in disordered eating patterns such as bulimia nervosa, which can cause weight loss or nutritional deficiencies leading to further health complications and even death if left untreated.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek professional medical care as soon as possible.

Final words

Making yourself throw up is a highly harmful behavior with severe consequences. It can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, damage your esophagus, increase the risk of GERD, and put you at greater risk for developing eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia.

If you find yourself engaging in this behavior frequently, it's essential to speak with a mental health professional so they can help you develop healthier coping strategies. Remember: your physical and mental health comes first! Take care of yourself!

DISCLAIMER: buildyourbody.org does not provide medical advice, examination, or diagnosis.

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.