"Purging" is an emotive, sensitive, and polarizing word. Definitions include:

  • (to) rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of cathartic release. For example: "Bob had helped purge Martha of the terrible guilt that had haunted her"
  • To free someone from (an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition).
  • To remove a group of undesirable people from (an organization or place) in an abrupt or violent way.
  • To atone for or wipe out, or to physically remove (something) completely.
  • and ... To evacuate one's bowels, especially as a result of taking a laxative.

Today when the word is used, it's almost exclusively in the context of anorexia or bulemia nervosa. Those afflicted fall into many different categories, but most cases come down to thermodynamics; calories, fuel, etc. Calories are bad becuase they make you fat. There's also much in the literature about the psychological addiction to purging. Binge eating has been around since the time of the Romans. Binge drinking probably as long.

As I descended I purged every morning, not to effect wieght control, but as a form of insurance, nothing to do with body image. My rationale; Induce controlled vomiting now to prevent uncontrolled vomiting later. I became addicted to throwing up but my pathology had nothing to do with bulemia nervosa. My attempt to explain is in chapter 8 of my book, "Quiet Please I'm Trying to Drink." You can buy it here