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In a patient suffering from severe bulimia nervosa, cognitive behavioral treatment was complicated by acute water intoxication. Fluid intake was investigated further in 21 patients fulfilling diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa. Results suggest that (1) high fluid intake is common, and (2) there is a high prevalence of self‐reported nonspecific symptoms that would be liable to mask water intoxication were it to occur. These and other factors suggest that it is in the nature of bulimia nervosa that relevant symptoms may be disregarded by both the patient and the therapist. Water intoxication as a life‐threatening aspect of bulimia nervosa and its treatment is discussed. Suggestions are made for the assessment of episodes of “binge drinking”. Copyright © 1987 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Eating Disorders

Publication Date





525 - 536