Help for Bulimia

Though it can be a devastating disorder, there is help for bulimia. Treatment for bulimia is imperative because without help, as many as 20 percent of people with eating disorders die from their conditions.

Help for Bulimia

Treatment for bulimia usually consists of several components and in fact experts have found that comprehensive treatment works better than simply offering one component of treatment. A comprehensive treatment plan should include, or at least make available, the following services:

Medical Care

People with bulimia frequently suffer from a number of medical problems, some of which are very serious. Common medical complications of the disorder include ulcers, sores in the mouth, heart problems, kidney problems, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.

Dental Care

People with bulimia almost always suffer from dental problems including loss of tooth enamel and cavities. They need dental care but some dentists advise waiting until the disorder is under control before doing extensive dental work.

Psychiatric Evaluation and Psychotropic Medication

Not all people with bulimia need psychotropic medication but all people in treatment for bulimia should receive a psychiatric evaluation to look for mental illnesses like major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders. Medication should be prescribed when appropriate.

Individual Counseling

Help for bulimia usually includes individual counseling. In individual counseling, people with bulimia can address issues related to self-esteem, self-image, past traumas and other factors that influenced the development of their disorder.

Group Counseling

Group counseling allows people with bulimia to gain support from others in similar circumstances and also allows them the opportunity to provide support to other people in need. Counselors frequently provide education about eating disorders and coping skills in group sessions, as well.

Family Counseling

Family counseling allows family members of people with bulimia to receive education about the disorder and support for the difficulties they experience living with someone that has an eating disorder. It also teaches families to communicate more effectively. Family counseling sessions can include close friends or others as well as family members if desired.

Nutritional Counseling

Many people with bulimia have poor understanding of what constitutes good nutrition or how many calories are needed to maintain good health. They may habitually make poor food choices and alternate between restricting calories and bingeing on high calorie foods. As a component of treatment for bulimia, registered dieticians work with people with bulimia to teach them about good nutrition and help them plan meals that contain the proper nutrients.

Supervised Eating

Many eating disorder treatment centers provide supervised meals. Trained staff members assist patients in selecting meal items, making sure they choose foods that provide the correct amount of nutrients and calories. After meals, they provide supervision to ensure patients do not purge.

Getting Help for Bulimia

If you or someone you know needs help for bulimia, look for a treatment center that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. While many psychiatric treatment centers will provide treatment for bulimia, treatment centers that primarily treat conditions like major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may not have the expertise or offer all of the necessary services to successfully treat eating disorders. For instance, those treatment centers may not offer nutritional counseling or may not have doctors or registered dieticians that are trained and experienced in the treatment of bulimia.

An eating disorders treatment center should offer all of the above components of treatment and may offer additional services as well, such as experiential therapy, spiritual care, recreational therapy, vocational rehabilitation services and self-help groups. The treatment center should create an individualized treatment plan for each person they treat since each person will have unique needs.

More than help for bulimia on our eating disorder statistics page

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