Bulimia Nervosa Therapy

Let’s be real: society’s unrealistic standards of beauty can have detrimental effects on both men and women.

With stick-thin models in the magazines and photoshopped pics on social media, it’s no wonder so many of us feel immense pressure to look a certain way.

This warped sense of “beauty” can lead to a serious eating disorder called Bulimia.

While all eating disorders are dangerous, Bulimia has the most rapid detrimental impact on the body and mind.

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by a binge-and-purge cycle.

This cycle consists of frequent episodes of binge eating, (consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time), followed by efforts to avoid gaining weight, such as vomiting, taking laxatives, or exercising to excess.

Eating in this way can cause damage to your digestive system and create chemical imbalances in your body that harm major organs, including the heart.

In severe cases, the imbalance of electrolytes can even cause the heart to stop, resulting in death.

So this is serious stuff.

The physical motion of purging can also rupture the esophagus, which can be fatal as well.

It can be really scary.

Both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa sufferers may experience stomach cramps or gastrointestinal complaints, including constipation or acid reflux.

You may temporarily or permanently lose your period and you have a higher chance of developing sleep problems.

Due to low thyroid, hormones, and potassium, you can also develop anemia or experience a constant state of coldness.

Dizziness upon standing or fainting may also happen, along with dry skin, hair loss, and brittle nails.

Due to the shame and guilt experienced after a binge-and-purge cycle, many people with bulimia will develop comorbid mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidality.

Translation: Not fun.

While Bulimia is most common among young women, this rampant eating disorder can affect women and men of all ages.

When you’re in the throes of an eating disorder, life may feel like a constant battle between the desire to lose weight and the overwhelming compulsion to binge eat.

But no matter how trapped you feel, there IS hope.

With treatment and support, you can break this unhealthy cycle, learn to manage unpleasant emotions in a non-destructive way, and regain your sense of control.

And we’re here to help.

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of Bulimia in case you are wondering whether you or a loved one are suffering with this disorder.

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Bulimia Signs & Symptoms

  • Frequent episodes of consuming a very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes
  • Self-esteem overly related to body image.
  • Many people with bulimia also struggle with co-occurring conditions such as:
    • Self-injury (cutting and other forms of self-harm without suicidal intention)
    • Substance abuse
    • Impulsivity (risky sexual behaviors, shoplifting, etc.)

Eating disorder symptoms are beginning earlier in both males and females and, at any given point in time, 1% of young women and .1% of young men will meet diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa.

What’s the diagnostic criteria? Let’s take a look.

Diagnostic Criteria for Bulimia

According to the DSM-V, Bulimia is characterized by the following:

  • Eating in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any 2-hour period) an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
  • Feeling a lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
  • Recurring inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
  • The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  • Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.

Nearly half of people with Bulimia Nervosa simultaneously experience mood disorders (such as depression) and anxiety disorders, and 1 in 10 bulimia patients will simultaneously have a substance abuse disorder (primarily alcohol). 

Understanding symptoms is not necessarily meant to immediately identify the disorder, but rather obtain insight as to how a medical professional may try to diagnose and treat someone with an eating disorder. 

With this in mind, only professionals are qualified to make these diagnoses, so please reach out to us for help if you have concerns about yourself or a loved one. 

Research-based, personalized therapy.

At My LA Therapy, our warm and experienced therapists specialize in anxiety, depression, trauma, & relationships.

Our Therapy Methods for Bulimia

The good news is, therapy can successfully alleviate Bulimia by helping you minimize the anxiety in your life, identify and change underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your eating disorder, and provide you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.

To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must face and conquer our pain by healing our underlying trauma and confronting our fears. 

Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective for overcoming eating disorders and other mental health issues. 

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At My LA Therapy, our highly-vetted Bulimia Nervosa experts are selected not only for their clinical acumen but for who they are.

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