Bulimia treatment

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by binge eating, with individuals often consuming up to three or four times the normal amount of food. This is followed by self-induced vomiting or taking laxatives to try and avoid putting on weight. Anyone of any age can suffer from bulimia, but it is most common in young women aged between 15 and 25.

Although bulimia is on the increase, we know little about what causes it. What we do know is that problems start when food is used to control feelings.

After binge eating you may feel some short-term emotional relief, but the feelings and distress often return. Bulimia treatment helps to bring longer-lasting relief and a solution to your feelings. Bulimia has been associated with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Emotional distress - caused by events such as a death, starting work or sexual abuse

Research also suggests that your genes and your family's attitude towards food can make you more likely to suffer from bulimia.

You may have had bulimia for several years and see it as part of your everyday life, but the sooner it is treated, the less damage it will do to your body. A person suffering from bulimia risks developing long term side effects, the longer that it is left untreated.

How does bulimia affect your family life?

Bulimia affects the whole family. Loved ones often find it hard to understand that an eating disorder is actually about feelings and coping, rather than food. This can lead to misunderstandings and arguments, particularly at meal times. The potential physical side effects of bulimia are also likely to be a major concern for family members.

Can I recover from bulimia?

You can recover from bulimia and go on to live a full life, even after many years with the illness. You may feel unsure about getting bulimia help, but with professional treatment, most people experience success in overcoming bulimia within a few months.

How to treat bulimia nervosa

Bulimia needs specialist help to treat both the psychological causes and its physical effects. Contacting your GP is the easiest way to get help and further treatment. He or she may offer you counselling or dietary counselling, or refer you to a specialist for further assessment. This may lead to outpatient treatment or, if your condition is more serious, day or inpatient treatment.

Family and friends can also help through their support and care. It is particularly helpful for relatives to understand that your eating problems are your way of coping with emotional difficulties and that you may have mixed feelings about changing your eating pattern.

If you're dangerously thin, you will need to gain weight with the help of a dietary plan designed to restore your physical health and a normal eating pattern.

Why use antidepressant medication in the treatment of bulimia?

Depression is common in people suffering from bulimia. Antidepressant medication helps to treat the depression and can help to reduce how often you engage in binge eating behaviours.

Why use family therapy in the treatment of bulimia?

Most families benefit from family therapy aimed at supporting and managing any difficult family relationships that have developed as a result of the eating disorder.

Treatment for bulimia at Priory

With a large network of eating disorder facilities across the UK, our experienced professionals are committed to offering bulimia help to individuals, with a unique and varied approach. We provide an extensive range of therapy groups helping to provide you with the therapeutic treatment suited to your needs.

Therapies used to treat bulimia nervosa include dietary counselling, psychotherapy, family therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT has become more popular over the past few years and can reduce symptoms by identifying, challenging and changing the thinking patterns and beliefs that create negative feelings and behaviours such as binge eating and vomiting.

The type and length of treatment is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition. Some people are treated as outpatients, which means that they attend Priory for hourly sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist. Others require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying as an inpatient at one of our Priory hospitals for the duration of their treatment, where they take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with their consultant.

We can offer you professional advice and treatment, that are suitable to your individual needs and personal experiences. Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa are treatable and over the years we have helped thousands of people to create the necessary changes, enabling them to challenge their eating disorder and move forward to lead fulfilling lives.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Bulimia treatment, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

More Info

How does bulimia affect your family life?

Bulimia affects the whole family. Loved ones often find it hard to understand that an eating disorder is actually about feelings and coping, rather than food. This can lead to misunderstandings and arguments, particularly at meal times. The potential physical side effects of bulimia are also likely to be a major concern for family members.

Can I recover from bulimia?

You can recover from bulimia and go on to live a full life, even after many years with the illness. You may feel unsure about getting bulimia help, but with professional treatment, most people experience success in overcoming bulimia within a few months.

Why use antidepressant medication in the treatment of bulimia?

Depression is common in people suffering from bulimia. Antidepressant medication helps to treat the depression and can help to reduce how often you engage in binge eating behaviours.

Why use family therapy in the treatment of bulimia?

Most families benefit from family therapy which is aimed at supporting and managing any difficult family relationships that have developed as a result of the eating disorder.

Our Locations