Facts on Bulimia
Bulimia nervosa has become a worldwide dilemma that destroys the lives of men, women, adults and teens alike. Individuals with bulimia are caught up in a vicious cycle of too much eating and then depriving themselves of fullness by vomiting or purging. It is considered a life-threatening disease because binge eating and purging – the two hallmarks of bulimia – tremendously damage the physical, mental and emotional health of those suffering from this eating disorder.
Among bulimics, more than half of them have depression and anxiety. Additionally, 30% to 70% are suffering from a certain addiction and 34% are at risk of self-infliction and even suicide, which reportedly is one of the most common causes of death. That is why it is imperative for individuals with bulimia to seek treatment at the early stage of the disease. The challenge is that most of these individuals are hesitant to go forward because of fear and shame of being judged. Nevertheless, it would be helpful to know some pertinent signs and symptoms of this deadly eating disorder. Some of these are:
- Unusually depressed or anxious
- Low self-esteem
- Unhealthy teeth and gums
- Wounds and calluses on the knuckles of the hands
- Eating too much food, and then going to the bathroom after eating
- Dry, cracked skin
- Have mood swings and erratic behaviour patterns
Treating Bulimia Nervosa
There are currently several treatments – natural and medical – that have been utilized to help cure bulimic patients, but the most essential therapies that have shown positive outcomes are nutritional counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and drug therapy. Let us describe each of these therapies and understand how they work and help bulimic patients recover from bulimia nervosa.
- Nutritional counseling. Medical nutrition therapy is a fundamental part of the treatment of eating disorders. It is aimed at helping patients realize the importance of eating normally and healthily by consistently meeting their nutritional requirements. Doing this slowly trains them to eat right, and then the process of healing the distorted self-image because of food comes next. It is also reinforced by support groups and individualized counseling to help lighten the patients’ struggles during recovery.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a type of psychotherapy that is considered to be the treatment of choice for bulimic patients. CBT is focused on helping the patients identify the negative behavioral patterns that they had formed from their bulimia, and then replacing these patterns with positive ones. The process starts with first trying to stop the binge and purging episodes through a reward system. The patients are also asked to monitor their eating schedules and find ways to stop themselves when they feel like vomiting. In several studies, CBT has shown to reduce the symptoms of bulimia by 50%.
- Family Therapy. The Maudsley method was utilized by patients with anorexia and had shown positive outcomes, which is why experts have started to use this on bulimics. A study was performed on 80 bulimic patients who underwent family therapy. After six months, 39% of them were able to stop binging and purging. It was reportedly more effective when tested on adolescent bulimics.
- Drug therapy. The most common medications recommended by physicians are the SSRIs, particularly fluoxetine and sertraline. These drugs have shown to tremendously reduce binging and purging urges, especially when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you want to know more about bulimia and its other forms of therapy, you can visit BetterHelp and see about the assistance they provide with their pool of online therapists ready to help. If you’re interested in other similar services, you might look into Talkspace, 7cups, and others for this type of support via the internet.
Deciding when to seek treatment is probably the hardest step in the recovery process. It requires you to realize that you need help and that you can’t beat your eating disorder alone. Seeking professional help is necessary because of the life-threatening status of eating disorders. When your eating disorder is in control, you lose the ability to think rationally and see the damaging effects it is having on your physical and mental health. A therapist can help you look at the situation logically and learn coping skills to deal with stress or poor self-esteem.
When deciding whether or not therapy is the right option for you, it is important to ask yourself these questions.
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Seeking help for bulimia nervosa is a difficult thing to start, but is something that becomes absolutely necessary for several reasons. Bulimia is an eating disorder which can lead to life-threatening circumstances and health concerns. Eating disorders in general are extremely hard to recover from, but bulimia especially is difficult to handle alone and often requires professional help.
Here are a few steps to seeking treatment if you or someone you care about is struggling with bulimia nervosa.
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As mentioned in previous posts, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder and that it focuses on control. Essentially, it is about monitoring your food intake and weight carefully enough to binge-eat and then purge immediately after to avoid the effects of the food. Because of this, you are not in control. Your disorder is.
While therapy and treatment are both necessary to recovery, so is a support system. You can’t beat an eating disorder by yourself, which is why you have a therapist to give you the tools and coping strategies needed for recovery. However, you also need a support system outside of your treatment. Your friends and family can help give you strength and courage when you’re scared and want to give up.
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Happy and I have been best friends since we were 5 years old. We went to the same school together until high school and only parted ways when we entered college. I took up engineering and Happy was finishing nursing. She always wanted to help those in need especially children with cancer. But all of these are now a forgotten memory. Happy died 3 months ago due to esophageal bleeding and complications from bulimia.
Continue reading “How I Lost My Best Friend To Bulimia” »
Everyone struggles with something, whether it be stress, anxiety, depression, or other specific mental disorders. When you watch someone you care about struggle with something serious, like an eating disorder, it can be hard to decide how to act around them. It can be hard to act normal, especially when you’re worried that the situation has become life-threatening. While it’s important to treat the person like you usually would, it’s also important to recognize what they are going through and be honest with them about your concerns.
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Eating disorders are some of the biggest compositions of mental health disorders today, but while these disorders were more popularly prevalent among women, much research has shown that the men of today are also affected. Although a majority of those with eating disorders, particularly bulimia nervosa, are women, one in ten are males and are equally struggling to find ways to free themselves from the dangers of this illness.
Continue reading “Bulimia – Men Get It Too” »
Bulimia, or the more scientific term Bulimia nervosa, is a type of eating disorder that involves binge eating. This eating disorder can be fatal and is extremely threatening to the physical and mental health of the individual suffering from it.
After the individual eats copious amounts of food, they overcompensate for the extra food by making themselves throw up or exercising more than they should. The individual induces vomiting either by forcing objects down their throat or by using laxatives.
Continue reading “What Is Bulimia?” »
Everyone experience body image issues at some point in their lives. Teenagers and adolescents are extremely concerned with their physical appearance and at times, may carry on into their adulthood. It doesn’t help that media and society highly praise the perfect body. Females strive for a slimmer waist, bigger breasts, and thinner thighs. Males attempt to be bulk up their muscles. While it is perfectly fine to try to achieve the perfect body, there are some limitations and boundaries on what is a normal and safe way of trying to get this “model” body.
Continue reading “How To Surpass Bulimia” »
Have you experienced waking up one day not being able to wear your old clothes or not being able to zip up your jeans? Or going to a homecoming party and the first thing an old friend noticed was your obvious weight gain?
Individuals that are born in the digital age are called Millennials, and experts like psychologists and sociologists believe they have different outlooks, life perspectives, challenges, and problems. One of which is the pressure to maintain the “ideal weight” that every person is suggesting, predominantly the social media stream. It is a given fact that the power of suggestion is highly influential. With this in thought, the pressure to maintain or attain the “ideal weight” can lead to serious mental problems such as eating disorders. Sadly, it becomes a vicious cycle (for some) of weight loss obsession, binge eating, or overcoming addiction for food.
Continue reading “Understanding Bulimia In Teens” »