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Because of its stigma, it's difficult to know how widespread bulimia is. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, the disease affects 1 to 2 percent of adolescent girls. But shoplifting can be even more covert. Though recovering bulimics may be willing to talk about their eating problems, many "suffer in silence" when it comes to taboo topics like shoplifting, according to Dr. Tony Paulson, co-author of the book, Why She Feels Fat and the director of a private recovery clinic in Sacramento. "I have yet to see a billboard promoting help for compulsive shoplifting," Paulson noted.
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