Multi-Impulsive Bulimia

The term 'Multi Impulsive Bulimia' proposes a distinct subgroup of individuals, with multiple self-harming behaviours in addition to their bulimic behaviour. It suggests that the combined behaviours be treated as a single 'impulse control' issue. It was first used by J. H. Lacey and C. Evans in their article 'The Impulsivist: A multi-impulsive personality disorder', published in The British Journal of Addiction in 1986.

Multi-impulsive bulimia is not a formal diagnosis and has been challenged, but is recognised by some agencies and clinics. It may also be worth noting that it is not unknown for additional self-harming behaviours to be used by individuals suffering from bulimia nervosa as a way of coping with the distress of their bulimic condition. It should be observed that both DSM-IV and ICD-10 consider eating disorders to be a category in their own right and not impulse control disorders

Multi-impulsive bulimia is a complex area and much information can be found on the Internet, both positive and negative. As always, this should be regarded with care.


“I had consistently been losing weight for more than 8 months and had become accustomed to eating very little. This triggered a return of my anorexia, after a 20-year period of recovery. SWEDA were able to offer me an appointment the very next day. When we met I was feeling very ill and frightened.I spoke to them about my fears, but then took the decision to go to my doctor on the way home. I was admitted to hospital within a few days.”

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