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Treatments for Bulimia and Keys to Bulimia Recovery – Overview

Updated on September 25, 2011
Bulimia is not just about resolving how you eat.
Bulimia is not just about resolving how you eat.

If you have reached this page, you probably know that you need to find effective treatments for bulimia – in the throes of your eating disorder; you may be causing harm to your digestive system, your kidneys, and even your heart. As for what this is doing to your teeth and the way that your breath smells, well that is something you experience each day!

I know that bulimia is not just about resolving how you eat; it isn’t even just about stopping the binging and purging; it is about dealing with a negative body image, problems with self esteem and a whole lot besides. I have run the gamut of living with an eating disorder for 20 years before finally reaching for and getting the kind of help with my bulimia that worked and that has successfully kept me in recovery for the past 6 years!

It is my aim to help others find and get the kind of help that really work to transform lives. A three pronged approach can help you as it helped me –

Break the Binge Purge Cycle

Easier said than done, I know, but this is a vital place to make a beginning – controlling cravings to binge as well as purge afterwards, avoiding triggers, reestablishing a healthy relationship with food; this is all a part of the process of healing and could well be your first step towards overcoming bulimia.

To break the binge-purge cycle, acknowledge that a change must be made, make lifestyle changes, and get the help you need. This may mean having to overcome denial; it is difficult but it can be done!

Changing the way you think

It is your thoughts that dictate the way you behave; so it is only natural that self destructive behavior can be headed off at the pass – by altering the way you think. A significant part of treatments for bulimia consist of addressing issues of self esteem and body image – a distortion of what you see in the mirror and what you think of yourself are at least partly responsible for the way you behave.  

It could be that there are some misconceptions you have about how the body works, about the way that different foods interact with the body and about healthy eating in general. If these are cleared up you may well find that you view food differently and that your essential relationship with food changes for the better.

Learn to react to stress differently – rather than give in to that urge to binge, develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Resolving Emotional Issues

This could be the most difficult part of the treatment and could mean facing some very unwelcome thoughts, feelings and memories. But this necessary, because it is these issues that make you think and act the way that you do.

Dealing with pain, trauma, feelings of loneliness and isolation, relationship issues, and any anxieties you may have is necessary to come to terms with. Only then can you begin to heal and begin to embrace a beautiful and full life the way that you were meant to – sans guilt, sans unhappiness, sans self loathing!

Treatments for Bulimia – Your Options

Talking Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This therapy involves changing a negative belief system into a positive one. If you are to stop the binging and purging, you have to relearn a healthy way to eat. To achieve this, you identify the negativity within you – your thoughts, emotions, feelings that make you act the way they do, and then try and change this.

Dialectic behavior Therapy – Like cognitive therapy, this helps you establish the link between feelings and bulimic behavior. It then helps you break that vicious cycle of negative feelings, binging, purging, followed by yet more negative feelings of guilt. 

Self help – This can be so very important for you have to take that first step yourself. Effective treatments for bulimia have to start with an acknowledgement of a problem and the willingness to recover.

Group therapy – It can help to know that others are going through hell; same as you. Feeling less isolated and alone is an important step towards healing.

Family based therapy – This can help create a supportive atmosphere at home that helps in recovery. If people at home know what they can do to help, your recovery will be faster, easier and more effective.


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