What Forms of Treatment are Effective for Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia nervosa is a well-known eating disorder. Bulimia sufferers binge eat—frequently eating unusually large amounts of food in a relatively short period—then attempt to purge to compensate for the calories consumed and relieve discomfort.
Forced vomiting, fasting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas and excessive exercise are common means of purging. In practice, bulimia appears similar to anorexia nervosa. Individuals with bulimia, however, usually maintain a relatively normal weight, rather than becoming underweight.
Common symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating, with a feeling of lack of control
- Recurrent episodes of inappropriate purging behaviors to prevent weight gain
- A self-esteem overly influenced by body shape and weight
- A fear of gaining weight, despite having a normal weight
Side effects of bulimia may include an inflamed and sore throat, swollen salivary glands, worn tooth enamel, tooth decay, acid reflux, abdominal irritation, severe dehydration and hormonal disturbances. In severe cases, bulimia can cause a stroke or heart attack.
What forms of treatment are effective for Bulimia?
Typical treatments for bulimia combine psychotherapy, antidepressants, and nutritional counseling. Finding a treatment program which includes a psychologist or psychiatrist, medical doctors, and licensed nutritionists, all experienced in dealing with eating disorders is important. Programs which specialize in eating disorders will offer all of these professionals, and appropriate therapy options to their clients.
Psychotherapy and Bulimia
Psychological treatments for bulimia may involve individual, family, and/or group psychotherapy. Behavior therapy focuses on altering unhealthy habits such as bingeing and purging. Cognitive therapy focuses on reprogramming the negative thoughts that underlie unhealthy habits. Individual and group therapy can be helpful in focusing on underlying emotional experiences and relationships that may contribute to your eating disorder.
Medications for Bulimia
Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro—in combination with psychotherapies have been effective in treating bulimia.
Nutrition’s Role in Treating Bulimia
A healthy approach to eating and nutrition is integral to bulimia recovery—and your life beyond eating disorders. Focusing on improving your diet and nutrition includes:
- Eating adequately to meet your body’s daily nutritional needs
- A balanced relationship with food, free from negative or distorted thoughts about yourself
- Listening to and trusting your body’s internal cues to determine hunger and fullness
If you or someone you love is suffering with bulimia, you’re likely feeling out of control. Bulimia doesn’t have to have the last word—new life beyond bulimia awaits!
Are you experiencing repeated episodes of binge-eating followed by purging?
Are you trying to hide your eating and purging behaviors from others?
Are you feeling guilty or ashamed of your eating and purging behaviors?
Bulimia is treatable. Most who receive treatment for bulimia recover and resume a healthy lifestyle. It is important for you to seek treatment as early as possible.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists understand that effective treatment for eating disorders requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach, involving healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres, offering each client his or her greatest chance at wholeness and transformative growth.
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