Treatment Options for Bulimia That Are Evidence-Based

Bulimia is a very serious disorder that can have severe health consequences. It's not just a choice someone makes so that they can eat more of their favorite foods but still lose weight. If people just chose to be bulimic, people could just decide to stop. It doesn't work that way.

There are no easy answers as to why people suffer from this troubling disease; it is a complex disorder that can arise from a combination of many different factors: behavioral, emotional, psychological, environmental, genetic, and chemical. Because it's so complex, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Patients have several different options that may help to put them on the road to recovery.

Psychotherapy

The most common way health care professionals recommend treating bulimia is with psychotherapy. This type of therapy is multi-faceted and attempts to address multiple factors in a person's overall health and wellness. Psychotherapy, because it's so comprehensive, can be costly and time-consuming.

A psychotherapist will attempt to get to the bottom of the emotional and cognitive issues that are contributing factors to a person's eating disorder. Techniques used in psychotherapy may include behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, interpersonal therapy, along with other techniques such as mindfulness.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves examining how thinking patterns affect behavior. Therapists will get to the bottom of thought patterns, emotions, and perspectives that are unhelpful and may be driving unhealthy behaviors. Once people are made aware of these destructive thought patterns, they are better able to change them and ultimately adopt more helpful positive behaviors.

CBT helps patients develop different strategies and coping skills so that they can adopt better ways of dealing with struggles. For a person with an eating disorder, a therapist will focus on breaking the habit of binging and purging while reshaping a person's self-image and understandings about food, health, and dieting.

Family Therapy

Family therapy can be useful for those who are struggling to recover in a dysfunctional family setting. A patient will examine the role they take in the family and how their eating disorder ties into it. The entire family would be involved in therapy, and sometimes the patient wouldn't even be present for therapy sessions. The family would receive therapy so that they could build a better support system for the patient.

Medication

Some people may find medication useful in managing their condition. Bulimia is often linked to anxiety and depression, so medications that help alleviate emotional intensity can be beneficial in helping a person recover. Often, doctors will prescribe medications in conjunction with therapy.

Sources: Eating Disorder Hope, Psych Central

Photo: Pixabay

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