Bulimia Nervosa

Breaking the Cyle

Do you or someone you know suffer from any of these characteristics?

1.) Uncontrolled eating, otherwise referred to as bingeing.

2.) Designed behaviors that prevent weight gain from bingeing.

- Self-induced vomiting

- Abusing laxatives, diuretics, or other purging medications

- Fasting

- Excessive exercise

3.) Feeling a sense of lack of control when it comes to eating.

4.) Being preoccupied with your weight.

(Nolen-Hoeksema 2010 pg. 343).

Understanding the History of Bulimia Nervosa

"The exact cause of bulimia is unknown. There are many possible factors that could play a role in the development of eating disorders. But biology, emotional health, societal expectations and other factors increase your risk (Mayoclinic.org)." People who suffer from bulimia nervosa obsess over their weight constantly, and live in fear of gaining weight (Mayoclinic.org). The variations of how many calories consumed are different from case to case, but on average some people consume 3,000 to 4,000 calories in one seating. And will binge between 1,200 to 2000 calories. (Nolen-Hoeksema 2014 pg.343). This disorder is much more common in women than men, but is equally as possible for both sexes. Sufferers tend to keep this disorder a secret, and is discovered after it has become a severe problem.

Myths Assosicated with Bulimia Nervosa:

Myth: You can tell someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them.

--Fact: People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, and people who struggle with bulimia nervosa can be underweight, overweight, normal weight, obese, or even fluctuate in weight (Eatingdisorders.com).

Myth: Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice, anyone can choose to stop having the disorder.

--Fact: Eating disorders are a serious mental illness that cause a lot of mental and psychological consequences. A person can choose to accept recovery, and move forward to find an appropriate treatment method, but it is not a life style choice, and you can not just turn it off (Eatingdisorders.com).

Myth: Purging is an effective way to lose weight.

--Fact: Over time, the binge/purge cycle can actually contribute to increased or accelerated weight gain as it affects the body’s metabolic rate. For these reasons, many people with bulimia are average or above-average weight (Eatingdisorder.org).

Myth: Recovery from an eating disorder is rare.

--Fact: Recovery is very possible, and a person can live their lives symptom free after they receive treatment. An approximate time frame differs for every case, but it can take months to years to overcome the battle, but it certainly can be done (Eatingdisorder.org).

Treatment Options:

-Cognitive Therapy: To help the client identify maladaptive thoughts and beliefs and place them with adaptive ones.

-Interpersonal psychotherapy: This method will help individuals to identify difficulties they may be experiencing in close relationships, and improve their communication and problem solving skills.

-Dialectical behavior therapy: to help an individual learn behavioral skills to tolerate stress, regulate your emotions and improve your relationships with others — all of which can reduce the desire to binge eat

-Family based therapy: this method will teach parents how to intervene to take control of their family members unhealthy eating behaviors. It will also help the family cope with the stress of having a family member with this type of disorder.

--Learning coping skills will help to handle the urges to binge


Seeking the Right Credentials:

When looking for the right therapist, you want to know what they specialize in, so you can get the most out of your treatment. Choosing a qualified candidate to take you on as a client is important because they need to be very well experienced in the area that you are needing. A psychiatrist is a physician — doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) — who specializes in mental health. This type of doctor may further specialize in areas such as child and adolescent, geriatric, or addiction psychiatry. A psychiatrist can:
  • Diagnose and treat mental health disorders
  • Provide psychological counseling, also called psychotherapy
  • Prescribe medication


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Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (Sixth ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Bulimia nervosa. (2012, April 3). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/basics/treatment/con-20033050

Eating Disorder Facts & Myths. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://eatingdisorder.org/eating-disorder-information/facts-and-myths/