Online Bulimia Nervosa Treatment: Find Bulimia Recovery Today

If you have bulimia nervosa, you engage in a cycle of binge eating, and then follow the binge with a behavior to avoid weight gain.

If you have bulimia nervosa, you engage in a cycle of binge eating, or consuming extreme amounts of food in a short period of time and then follow the binge with a behavior meant to avoid weight gain.

There are two types of this life-threatening eating disorder. The most common is the purging type, which involves vomiting after eating or the use of laxatives or diuretics. The less common non-purging type involves excessive exercising or stopping eating for a day or more.

Bulimia is a complex condition with a combination of biological, psychological, and social roots. Sufferers’ preoccupation with controlling calories to lose or maintain weight leads to a loss of enjoyment of food and an inability to pick up the body’s cues of both hunger and fullness. Rigid food rules and regulations overtake and obliterate an awareness of the need to nourish the body.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is a serious, life-threatening eating disorder that is characterized by a cycle of binge eating, or consuming extreme amounts of food in a short period of time, followed by a subsequent reaction to avoid weight gain. 

Types of Bulimia Nervosa

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), there are two types of bulimia nervosa, based on how a patient chooses to remove excess calories from their cycles of binge eating.

Purging Type

The purging type is the most common type of bulimia nervosa and involves the patient vomiting their food out or through the use of laxatives or diuretics. 

Non-Purging Type

The non-purging type is the less common type of bulimia nervosa. With the non-purging type, a patient exercises excessively or stops eating for a day or longer.

Diagnosing Bulimia Nervosa

Diagnosing bulimia nervosa typically involves:

  1. Talking with your healthcare provider your eating habits, how you lose weight, and any physical symptoms you may be experiencing
  2. Getting a physical exam
  3. Getting blood and urine tests conducted
  4. Getting an electrocardiogram test performed that identifies any heart problems
  5. Getting a psychological evaluation
  6. Getting an evaluation to examine your symptoms against the  criteria for bulimia outlined by American Psychiatric Association

American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa is diagnosed when a patient suffers or shows signs of the following:

  • Episodes of binge eating that involves (1) eating an amount of food that is much larger than what most people would eat during a similar period of time or similar circumstance and (2) a lack of control of eating during the patient’s episode
  • Episodes of compensatory behavior that prevents weight gain. This can include self-induced vomiting, improperly taking laxatives or diuretics, not eating, or exercising excessively
  • Episodes of binge eating and compensatory actions occur regularly, at least once a week for three months.
  • Self-evaluation is highly influenced by their weight or body shape
  • Both binging and purging occurs consecutively, unlike anorexia nervosa. 

Characteristics of Patients with Bulimia Nervosa

  • Individuals Engage in recurrent episodes of binge eating (eating a larger amount of food than normal in a discrete period of time and feeling out of control when binge eating) at least once a week for 3 months
  • Individuals Perform compensatory behaviors (e.g., self-induced vomiting) at least once a week for 3 months to prevent weight gain
  • Individuals’ self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight
  • Individuals have not experienced disturbances in eating exclusively during episodes of anorexia

Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

Patients with bulimia nervosa can experience the following symptoms:

  • Purging regularly, at least once a week
  • Eating abnormally large meals at one sitting regularly
  • Living in a fear of weight gain
  • A perception or feeling that they can’t control their binge eating
  • Inducing themselves to vomit or exercise excessively after binge eating
  • Unnecessarily using laxatives, enemas, or diuretics after eating
  • Excessive use of dietary supplements to lose weight

Bulimia Nervosa Levels of Care

Outside of the primary care setting, there are a few levels of care available to individuals with eating disorders. Let’s review binge eating disorder treatment options:

Outpatient

  • Often where the treatment process begins
  • Patient lives at home and attends hourly sessions at their providers’ offices
  • Appropriate for patients who are medically stable, motivated, self-sufficient, and have adequate support and structure at home

Intensive Outpatient

  • Typically occurs in a specialized setting (e.g., a clinic or hospital)
  • Patients live at home and attend sessions three to five times a week that last approximately three hours each
  • Program may include numerous types of therapy, including, but not limited to, individual, group, and counseling
  • Appropriate for patients who are medically stable, self-sufficient, and have adequate support and structure at home, but may need some degree of external structure beyond self-control

Partial Hospitalization (Full-Day Outpatient Care)

  • Occurs in a specialized setting and can be connected to a hospital program or a free-standing facility
  • Patient requires a high level of supervision and monitoring
  • Patient must be able to demonstrate some ability to retain the gains made in treatment without 24-hour monitoring
  • Patient must not be a suicide risk or medically compromised to the point of requiring hospitalization
  • Patient must have sufficient resources and motivation to attend program
  • Patient’s home or living environment must be one that can be supportive of the recovery process
  • Wide variety in quality of programming and hours of available treatment across programs, making it critical that patient’s needs and circumstances are appropriate for this level of care
  •     Care is typically 5– 12 hours per day, 4– 7 days per week.

Residential Treatment Center

  • Highly specialized programs that can be operated independent of hospital setting, but sometimes connected to a hospital setting
  • Indicated when patient is not able to retain gains without 24-hour monitoring
  • May be indicated when severity of symptoms necessitates constant monitoring in order to initiate and sustain symptom-free behavior and normalized eating
  • May be indicated for patients whose activities of daily living are compromised by the disorder May be indicated for the development of a normalized, healthy lifestyle conducive to long-term health and well being
  • May include specialized approaches that help the patient develop routines and activities of daily living that create patterns of behavior that are conducive to recovery
  • Useful in situations with a high degree of psychiatric comorbidity that require intensified focus during treatment
  • Sometimes indicated on the basis of a lack of supportive and safe environment where the patient can be expected be able to make meaningful, retainable progress
  • May be appropriate when patient is overwhelmed with symptoms and unable to refrain from reverting to symptoms or other behaviors that compromise their well being when alone
  • Appropriate for patients with either lower or higher levels of motivation, but generally patients must enter treatment voluntarily

Inpatient Hospitalization

  • Generally used for a period of short-term stabilization proceeding initiation of treatment at lower levels of care
  • Indicated in situation where patient is a suicide risk or gravely disabled by symptoms and unable to participate in residential or lower levels of care due to presenting symptoms, which may include depression, poor motivation, poor insight, and/ or other factors that limit ability to meaningfully participate in lower levels of care
  • Appropriate in situations where hospital-based medical care is indicated (i.e., IV lines or other more invasive medical treatments are needed)

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Options

Bulimia nervosa involves a vicious cycle of binge eating followed by a compensatory behavior. Diagnosis can sometimes be difficult as patients with bulimia nervosa often feel ashamed of their behavior, both their binge eating and the compensatory behavior afterwards. Because patients with bulimia nervosa rid themselves of excess food, they usually maintain a normal weight. 

When a patient has bulimia nervosa, they may need several types of treatment. Bulimia nervosa Treatment often involves a team approach that includes the primary care physician, a psychologist or other mental health professional, a dietician that works with eating disorders, the patient, and the patient’s family. Below are the bulimia nervosa treatment options you may receive:

Psychotherapy

Psychology, also referred to as psychological counseling or talk therapy, is a process that involves speaking with your psychologist about your bulimia nervosa and related issues.

Medications

Along with psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants can be used to reduce the symptoms of bulimia nervosa. However, the only antidepressant approved by the FDA is Prozac, a type of SSRI.

Nutritional Education

Dieticians can help you create a plan for healthy eating habits that provides high quality nutrition and reduces the hunger and cravings they may feel. Dieticians can also provide valuable guidance for you on eating regularly and not restricting their food intake. 

Questions to Your Provider May Ask You When They Suspect You Have Bulimia Nervosa

Below are some sample questions your provider may ask you if they suspect you need bulimia nervosa treatment:

  • How often do you think about food?
  • Do you ever eat without anyone knowing you’re eating?
  • Do you worry about your weight? 
  • How long have you worried about your weight? 
  • Do you exercise? If yes, how often?
  • Have you ever tried or do you regularly take medicine for weight loss?
  • What other ways have you tried to lose weight?
  • Do you experience any physical symptoms?
  • Do you know of any family members who have struggled with eating too much or too little?

Finding Bulimia Recovery

If you think you or a loved one needs bulimia nervosa treatment, you’ve come to the right place. The first step to bulimia recovery is acknowledging you need help and then seeking help. 

As a sufferer of bulimia, you are convinced you need rigid food rules to control your weight, appearance, and health. So, the key to recovery from bulimia nervosa is realizing there is another way. Our team focuses on helping you discover this other way through the principles of mindful eating, which is about internal regulation.

In our work together, you will gradually become aware of your body’s hunger and satiety cues, learning to nourish yourself by following your own body rather than external rules. This is a gentle, compassionate process of trial and error. Part of the process will be comforting and soothing yourself when you do find yourself bingeing as you’re on your path to healing.

The important thing to know is, if you have bulimia, there is a pathway to healing for you. You can develop a new, entirely different relationship with food and a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Our team is here to help you do that.

Get Online Bulimia Nervosa Treatment

My name is Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, I am a consultant psychiatrist in Miami, Florida. I believe that compassion, when directed towards self and others, can lead to profound health and healing. If you need online bulimia nervosa treatment, I can help! I have created a unique treatment model in which you will have the  opportunity to work with providers who I specifically refer to based on your current experience, diagnosis and needs.  I build this team around you and will coordinate your care with the goal to find meaning in your experience, and free you of your symptoms so that you can feel more at peace, and have greater capacity to adapt to life circumstances, to challenge yourself, to be creative, to develop intimacy and to have a fulfilling lifestyle With more than 20 years of clinical experience and a vast network of clinical partners, I’ve developed a unique treatment approach that delves into the underlying issues that place a person at risk for mental health conditions.  Together we will create a protocol and treatment plan that is well coordinated, and that can guide you on your healing process, toward health and inner peace. Contact me today!