If you have found yourself stuck in a cycle of binging and purging, call Haven Hills today. Our staff is specifically trained to help you meet your behavioral change goals and gain a sense of empowerment in your life. The clinical team will collaborate with you on your bulimia treatment plan and provide support on your journey toward growth and healing.
Bulimia: What is it?
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by efforts to offset weight gain, such as vomiting, restricting food intake for some time following the binge/purge cycle, extreme exercise, or by misuse of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, or supplements. A person struggling with bulimia is constantly dissatisfied with their body size or shape, and the quest for perfection is obsessive.
Who Does it Affect?
Most of those who suffer from bulimia nervosa are women. In the United States alone, 1.5% of all women will suffer from bulimia at some point in their lifetime. Eating disorders are often characterized as women’s issues, but men suffer as well. There is no perfect body design, but cultural and social pressures influence all of us. Additional contributing factors include psychological and emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as well as stress, boredom, family situations, interpersonal relationships, social withdrawal, and the influence of media, product marketing, and the entertainment industry.
Bulimia behaviors can result in severe physical and psychological symptoms that can become life-threatening. Unlike anorexics, those who diligently have to hide signs of weight loss, those who struggle with bulimia are usually of normal weight, slightly overweight, or obese. For this reason, bulimia can go undetected by friends and family members. The disordered eating patterns and symptoms of bulimia can also go undiagnosed by physicians, as the side effects of bulimia can be overlooked or mischaracterized.
Common signs and symptoms of bulimia include, but are not limited to, binge eating, compulsive behaviors, impulsivity, self-harm, purging after eating or overeating, frequent hunger, dehydration, fatigue. She may suffer from mood swings and feelings of guilt and shame. Physical complications include constipation and digestive problems, dental decay and gum disease, sore throat, and changes in menstruation. Bulimics are at risk for esophageal inflammation or bleeding, gastric rupture, electrolyte imbalances, heart failure, stroke, and death.
The emotional and mental distortions that accompany bulimia nervosa can be all-consuming. A suffering person may feel trapped in their obsession with food and body image. Obsession with food and body image overshadows almost everything else.
Bulimia Treatment: What Does it Look Like?
Bulimia is a chronic but treatable disorder. Bulimia Treatment begins with assessment with a mental health professional who will make a recommendation for care based on the person’s needs. Treatment includes psychological, emotional, medical, and dietary interventions. Therapeutic treatment includes group psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychoeducation, family therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
A treatment team may include support from a variety of medical and mental health professionals including a clinical psychologist, a nutritionist or dietician, a psychiatrist, a physician, or others. Effective treatment is comprehensive, examining and treating co-occurring disorders such as mood, substance abuse, self-harm, suicide ideation, and untreated trauma.
Helping Someone with Bulimia
If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with bulimia nervosa, call and speak to our supportive, knowledgeable staff. We can provide you with guidance to help your loved one get the support they need.
Recovery is possible. Treatment is available. We are here to help.