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Counseling for Bulimia

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa can be quite similar, since those with bulimia may restrict food intake (a characteristic of anorexia) and people with anorexia may binge and purge. Both diseases require professional help from doctors and counselors or therapists to recover and return to normal eating behaviors. Both diseases can be deadly if left untreated due to the strain they can put on the heart and other organs.

What Is Bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa, more commonly known as bulimia, is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. People with bulimia may secretly binge — eat large amounts of food while being unable to control the excessive amount of food they’re consuming — and then regularly purge the extra calories to avoid weight gain. Examples of purging include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, dietary supplements, diuretics, or enemas.

Individuals struggling with this disorder oftentimes feel ashamed and embarrassed and will not consult a professional, which is why it’s important to know the warning signs of bulimia.

  1. Being preoccupied and significantly concerned with your body shape and size.

  2. Significant fear and worry of gaining weight.

  3. Repeated episodes of consuming large amounts of food in one sitting.

  4. Feeling out of control, like you cannot control how much food you’re eating or what you’re eating.

  5. Feeling you must expel the food you took in to avoid gaining weight.

  6. Making yourself vomit, abusing laxatives, excessive exercise, fasting, misusing diuretics, dietary supplements, and enemas to get rid of calories you consumed when binge eating.

Who Is At Risk For Bulimia?

Females are more likely to have Bulimia than males, and it most often develops during late teens and early adulthood, however, this may not always be the case.

Although anyone can be at risk of bulimia there are factors that can increase an individual’s chance of developing this disorder. If a first-degree relative has been diagnosed with an eating disorder you may share genetics that increases the risk of developing bulimia.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or substance use and struggle with negative beliefs about yourself you may be at an increased risk of bulimia. Dieting may place you at a greater risk of developing an eating disorder due to the constant focus on weight and body image.

Research suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective psychotherapeutic treatment for bulimia nervosa. Many Mindsight Behavioral Group clinicians practice CBT to help clients feel better faster.

Reaching out and asking for help is a natural part of being human; we all need help sometimes.

A good starting point is scheduling an appointment with a medical doctor, or mental health professional to determine the best course of action. Depending on the severity of your bulimia and the state of your physical health, your doctor, or mental health professional may refer you for counseling services in either an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization setting.

You may be referred for medical care, medication management, or specialized services for eating disorders. You may even receive a combination of the above-mentioned services for the treatment of bulimia.

Mental Health Services For Bulimia.

Counseling is a key part of the treatment and maintenance of eating disorders such as bulimia.

Caring and empathetic mental health professionals can provide you with a safe, supportive, and confidential space while working towards achieving and maintaining recovery. Therapists offer individualized treatment plans that may involve individual, group, or family counseling. Your counselor may utilize various treatment modalities that will assist you in identifying potential factors such as negative thoughts/thinking patterns that may underlie your behaviors (binge eating, purging) and then guide you in discovering healthy behaviors and adaptive ways of thinking that will be significant in your treatment and recovery.

Your therapist can help connect you with additional sources of support such as case management and community support services. Your counselor may refer you to a medication provider if they suspect that medication would benefit you and your ability to effectively participate in mental health treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with bulimia, take the first step today and contact Mindsight to get set up with one of our caring counselors with immediate openings. There is hope and healing in mental health treatment for bulimia.

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