Bulimia Nervosa

By: Jessica Main

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that affects a lot of individuals today. An individual with bulimia nervosa will go through recurring episodes of binge eating where they cannot stop (Nolan-Hoeksema, 2014). After the episode, the individual will go frantic efforts to avoid weight gain such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise (Nolan-Hoeksema, 2014). Someone who may have this disorder may have anxiety, guilt, or mood swings. Women are more common to have bulimia nervosa as oppose to men.
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Possible causes

There are many causes of why people become bulimic. The first cause is major life changes. Changes such as puberty, college, and breakups are all challenges that can make it hard for someone. An individual will cope with their feelings by binge eating as a way to cope with their stress (Smith, 2016).

Another cause could be from low self-esteem. This can affect an individual, especially when they think low of themselves, feel worthless, and unattractive. Low self-esteem can contribute from depression, perfectionism, child abuse, and critical home environment (Smith, 2016).

Poor body image is another cause of bulimia. In the world we live in today, people are constantly in competition at each other. Everyone wants to feel beautiful and skinny. Society; unfortunately, believes in order to become beautiful, individuals have to be skinny and tall.

Treatment options

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals identify unhealthy, negative beliefs, and behaviors and help them by replacing them with positive ones.

Family-Based Therapy: With family-based therapy, this can help the parents stop their children from their unhealthy eating habits and later, help them regain control over their own eating.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy: This kind of therapy helps an individual who suffers from close relations. A therapist would work with their clients improvement of communication and problem-solving skills.

Smith, M. (2016)

Common myths or misperceptions

There are many different myths or misperceptions about bulimic individuals. Here are a few common ones:

  1. Eating disorders are caused by photshopped images of the media.
  2. Men don't get eating disorders
  3. Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice; someone can choose to stop having an eating disorder

How to overcome them?

Individuals need to understand that bulimia disorder is not caused by photoshopped images of the media. According to Eating Disorder Facts & Myths (2015), "Sociocultural messages about weight and beauty (including photoshopped images) can certainly impact a person's body and stimulate pressures to look a certain way, but they cannot cause an eating disorder".

A lot of people believe that men cannot have an eating disorder; this statement is FALSE! Men can also have an eating disorder also. According to Eating Disorder Facts & Myths, (2015), "At least 1 out of every 10 people with an eating disorder is male. In fact, within certain diagnostic categories like binge eating disorder, men represent as many as 40% of those affect".

Some people think eating disorders is something that can just be put aside. This is not true. If someone has an eating disorder, they need to be treated and supported regarding the medical monitoring, nutritional rehabilitation as well as learning and practicing healthier ways to manage stress (Eating Disorder Facts & Myths, 2015).

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The before and after affect on photoshop

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Credentials/ degrees/ educational background/ and licensure

To become an eating disorder counselor, one must complete their bachelors degree. Must also obtain a minimum of master's degree in clinical or counseling psychology. It highly recommended that professionals eventually also earn a doctoral degree as well as taking both general and psychology GRE examinations.

Eating disorder counselors must successfully complete a clinical internship in which they are able to work directly towards those who are suffering from an eating disorder. Interns are also required record-keeping skills.

Licensure and certification varies from each state. In Michigan, eating disorder counselors are required to have their Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Limited Professional Counselor (LLPC).

(Eating Disorder Counseling Careers, 2016)

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Eating Disorder Counseling Careers, (2016). Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.psychologyschoolguide.net/counseling-careers/becoming-an-eating-disorder-counselor/

Eating Disorder Facts & Myths, (2015). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://eatingdisorder.org/eating-disorder-information/facts-myths/

Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. (2014). Abnormal Psychology, 6th edition. New York, NY. McGraw Hill Education.

Smith, M. (2016). Bulimia Nervosa. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/eating-disorders/bulimia-nervosa.htm#treatment