Bulimia nervosa, commonly known as bulimia, is a serious eating disorder characterised by recurring episodes of binge eating followed by purging behaviours. The internal struggle faced by individuals with bulimia is engaged in insane behaviours—a constant desire to eat more while simultaneously an extreme obsession to get slimmer. This article explores the psychological and emotional aspects of bulimia, highlighting various therapy approaches and professionals involved in the treatment process, including the potential role of rehab facilities.
Bulimia is marked by a complex interplay of physical, psychological, and social factors. An intense fear of gaining weight or an obsession with body size and shape are the disorder’s fundamental causes. The mind of someone with bulimia may feel trapped in a relentless cycle of acting out (bingeing and purging), acting in (feeling guilty and shame), and extreme control (new diets). This constant battle for control can consume their thoughts and hinder their ability to focus on anything else.
Although binge eating episodes provide momentary relief from emotional distress, feelings of shame, self-disgust, and the desire to purge always follow. This self-destructive pattern perpetuates psychological madness, where individuals become trapped in a vicious cycle of seeking comfort through food and desperately desiring weight loss.
The treatment of bulimia involves a multidimensional approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the disorder. The following therapeutic interventions have proven effective in helping individuals overcome bulimia:
Talk therapies ( such as cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family-based therapy) can help individuals address the underlying emotional and psychological aspects of the disorder.
Nutritional Counselling: Registered dietitians play a crucial role in bulimia treatment. They help individuals establish balanced and regular eating habits, develop a healthier relationship with food, and address nutritional deficiencies.
Medical professionals to provide medical and psychiatric assessment and support
Bodywork is also massively important to help the person suffering from bulimia engage with his or her body in different ways. This can include massage, shiatsu, pilates, and yoga.
The professionals involved are typically trained in mental health and have a deep understanding of the complexities of eating disorders. It’s included in their training to be able to support individuals in their recovery journey. The range of professionals includes psychiatrists, GPs, psychotherapists, therapists, and dietitians. These are their roles:
Psychiatrists: These medical doctors diagnose and prescribe medications when necessary, such as antidepressants, to address any underlying mood disorders or co-occurring conditions. Generally, you will need a GP: General practitioners who provide initial assessment and referral to specialists if needed.
A psychotherapist or an eating disorder counsellor who will help you to understand the link between your bulimia and your emotions, develop an understand of the meaning of your bulimia and slowly changing your relationships to food and your body
Registered Dietitians: These experts in nutrition educate individuals on healthy eating habits, meal planning, and the importance of a balanced diet. They help individuals develop a positive relationship with food and establish regular eating patterns.
In severe cases or when outpatient treatment is insufficient, residential or inpatient rehab programmes can provide a structured and intensive environment for bulimia treatment. The advantage of rehab is that your food intake and not purging are monitored 24/7. A multidisciplinary team composed of GPs, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and bodywork practitioners will support you. They will work together to create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. You will need to invest time ( at least 4 weeks impatient treatment) and a substantial amount of money to be able to go to Rehab. A goal of rehab facilities is to offer a safe space for individuals to focus solely on their recovery, away from triggering environments and stressors. Additionally, these programmes often address co-occurring disorders and provide strategies for relapse prevention, equipping individuals with the tools they need to maintain long-term recovery.
At our Harley Street office, our Eating disorder counselors can help you find the right support to help you start your recovery journey. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Harley street eating disorder counsellor and take the first step towards a healthier future.