DOI: 10.1111/jpm.12973 ISSN:

‘It is not a mannequin disease’: A lived experience narrative of living with bulimia nervosa

Sinem Öcalan, Mustafa Sabri Kovancı, Duygu Hiçdurmaz
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health

Accessible Summary

What is known on the subject?

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, inappropriate compensatory behaviours to prevent weight gain and excessive mental preoccupation with body weight and shape.

What the paper adds to existing knowledge?

In this paper, the feelings, thoughts and experiences of an individual with bulimia nervosa are explained, and the positive and negative effects of their experiences during the treatment process are emphasized.

This paper offers advice to patients, relatives and healthcare professionals in recognizing and treating bulimia nervosa.

What are the implications for practice?

Mental health nurses should organize training, seminars and conferences to raise awareness of society against bulimia nervosa, which is defined as a mannequin disease and therefore creates a positive perception.

Mental health nurses, an essential part of the health system, should raise awareness of individuals and families about recognizing, monitoring and supporting the early symptoms of bulimia nervosa.



Bulimia nervosa is one of the areas where mental health professionals have difficulties due to its nature and course. It is important to understand the factors related to this problem in‐depth to discover the dynamics unique to the individual that causes the difficulty, identify new perspectives on these dynamics and identify alternative behaviours, stop stubborn binge‐eating attacks and prevent relapse.


It is aimed to provide an in‐depth insight into the nature, course and treatment processes of bulimia nervosa through the narrative of the lived experience of an individual living with this problem.

Implication for Practice

The perception of beauty seriously impacts the onset and later course of bulimia nervosa and draws attention to the fact that mental health professionals and media workers have important duties to change the concept of beauty equals being skinny, created in society and the media. Quality of perceived social support is very important in preventing, treating and rehabilitating bulimia nervosa. Adopting a more objective approach, which will prevent the positive or negative stigmatization of the disease in explaining bulimia nervosa to the public, should be adopted.

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