Therapy That Works...

Eating Disorders: Bulimia Nervosa - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe what Bulimia Nervosa is and how it begins - click here.

Bulimia nervosa is an insidious mental health disorder that can cause extraordinary pain and suffering.

Women are more likely than men to develop Bulimia and sufferers tend to start the cycle of Bulimia in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Bulimia begins with eating an unusually large amount of food, often in an impulsive but ritualized manner. During the binge eating, it’s almost as if another consciousness takes hold and the food is their total focus. Afterward, they’re often consumed with overwhelming feelings of self-loathing and remorse. Binging is often followed by getting rid of any evidence of the binge and then different behaviors to curb any weight gain – like extreme amounts of exercise, harsh food restriction, use of laxatives, or even purging the food from their system by vomiting.

These post-binge behaviors come from a need to reverse the damage they have done to their body and to lower their soaring anxiety. Ironically, these efforts often end up causing more damage to their bodies and increasing their anxiety instead of helping to resolve the problem.

Similar to other eating disorders, people with bulimia often are highly self-critical, scrutinize their bodies, and hold themselves to an impossible standard. There can be considerable distortion about what they look like and they may be extremely inaccurate about their appearance. Relentless cognitive self-criticism can easily lead to destructive eating habits that are not only bad for their physical health but are emotionally addictive. The binging and purging become a coping mechanism that temporarily allows them to feel less anxious, in control, and even euphoric in some cases.

Eating disorders such as bulimia are difficult to beat even under the best of circumstances.

According to some studies, people with bulimia have higher levels of depression, anger, and shifting moods. Since they primarily involve problems in emotional regulation, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are extremely effective and have high rates of success.

Eating disorders are very serious conditions, and they can even be lethal. If you think you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating and Bulimia" by Debra L. Safer, Christy F. Telch, and Eunice Y. Chen

The National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov)

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org)


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive