Bulimia Nervosa Treatment
Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that is characterised by sufferers engaging in periods of excessive eating (known as ‘binge eating’), following by ‘purging’ behaviours in which they abuse laxatives or make themselves vomit as a means of getting rid of the calories that they’ve consumed. These behaviours arise as a result of a bulimia sufferer’s inherent need to control and restrict their food intake. These binge-purge cycles can be triggered by hunger, stress or anxiety and because they don’t result in huge fluctuations in an individual’s weight, this complex eating disorder can often be difficult to spot.
Bulimia can be a very secretive illness and can be difficult to cope with. However, it’s important to understand that bulimia is treatable and it’s possible for you to make a full and lasting recovery. At Life Works, we help each client to identify the root of their bulimia; we believe that it is important to tackle the behaviour and unhealthy thought patterns that are fuelling the disorder, rather than just addressing symptoms. This ensures that all of Life Works’ clients have the best opportunity for long-term recovery.
Bespoke bulimia treatment
Our eating disorder specialists, consisting of highly qualified psychiatrists, therapists, a nutritionist and a dietitian, have a wealth of experience in treating bulimia nervosa, and are able to deliver a wide range of evidence-based interventions in order to reduce your bulimia symptoms. Our Life Works experts understand that eating disorders are complex conditions and are unique to each individual. Therefore, we pride ourselves on providing bespoke bulimia treatment, which is individually tailored according to the needs and requirements of each and every one of our clients, in order to produce the most positive outcomes. We are dedicated to placing you at the centre of your treatment journey and will support you every step of the way towards overcoming your bulimia and taking steps towards the healthy and fulfilling life that you deserve.
At Life Works, we understand that admitting that you have a problem with bulimia, and seeking support can be an overwhelming and daunting prospect. That’s why we aim to make this process as simple and straightforward as possible by offering a free initial eating disorder assessment. This comprises a dietetic, therapeutic and GP review and assesses your suitability for eating disorder treatment, as well as allowing you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have on the treatment process, and develop a better understanding of the journey that you could be taking towards overcoming bulimia.
Our specialist eating disorder clinic in Woking, Surrey offers a highly compassionate, supportive and non-judgemental environment in which to receive treatment and provides the perfect setting for you to address your challenges and take steps towards a positive future.
Treatment for bulimia nervosa at Life Works
The goal of bulimia treatment at Life Works is to help you to address the underlying causes for your unhealthy bingeing and purging behaviours, recognise triggers for your binge-purge cycle, learn effective coping mechanisms and take steps towards recovery.
Eating disorders affect people in unique ways and therefore, our treatment and recovery process is personalised according to our clients’ individual condition, experiences and requirements.
Treatment and counselling for bulimia
Treatment for bulimia at Life Works consists of a wide range of established techniques. These include:
A variety of practical dietetic techniques, designed to help to gradually expose you to the concepts of healthy eating, diet and nutrition. These include:
- Personalised meal plans
- Weekly shopping groups
- Weekly cooking groups
- Weekly psycho-educational groups, specific to eating disorders
A range of therapeutic approaches which are specific to eating disorder clients:
- Body image/acceptance groups
- Drama and movement therapy
- Understanding emotions groups
- Relapse prevention groups
- Meal and post-meal support, with input from the full multidisciplinary team
Other therapeutic interventions which can be used for both eating disorder and addiction clients:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) informed groups
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) informed groups
- Art informed therapy
- Drama therapy
We are able to deliver expert treatment for bulimia in Woking in a number of different formats, including group therapy, one-to-one therapy and family therapy. We also offer a variety of treatment options ranging from highly structured inpatient treatment, through to day care and outpatient treatment. The format and type of treatment that you receive at Life Works is personalised according to your individual needs and the intensity of the support that you require for your bulimia. You can read more about these different treatment options on our approach to eating disorder treatment page. In addition, we provide access to Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous (ABA) groups.
We also offer an exceptional family programme to our bulimia clients. Not only does bulimia nervosa have a significant impact on your own life and general wellbeing, but it also has the potential to affect your family, friends and relationships with other people. Family members and loved ones often find it difficult to understand the destructive bingeing and purging behaviours that are associated with bulimia, which can lead to conflict, stress and ongoing problems. Therefore, at Life Works, we are committed to involving family and friends throughout the bulimia treatment and recovery process, enabling us to provide further support, care and education to your loved ones, in relation to this destructive illness.
What is bulimia?
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes sufferers to restrict their food intake and engage in cycles of binge eating and purging. Binge eating is characterised by episodes of excessive and uncontrollable eating, during which individuals often eat up to three or four times the usual amount of food, despite feeling full or not being hungry. These periods of overeating can cause bulimia sufferers to experience short-term relief from anxiety and stress, but these feelings are then replaced with further distress. This therefore causes sufferers to engage in purging behaviours, whereby they attempt to rid their bodies of the calories that they have consumed whilst bingeing. They may do this by making themselves vomit or abusing laxatives. The binge-purge cycles that are associated with bulimia can cause a whole host of negative emotions including guilt, depression, self-disgust, shame and low self-esteem. In addition, this constant overeating and purging has a hugely detrimental impact on the normal digestive system and can also result in a range of long-term physical complications including tooth decay, chronic gastric reflux, kidney damage, infertility, chest pains, cardiac problems, and can even be fatal.
Bulimia is known to be a very secretive illness, and sufferers will often go to extreme lengths to hide their unhealthy bingeing and purging behaviours. This, combined with the fact that the binge-purge cycles don’t result in dramatic changes in weight, can make this eating disorder very difficult to identify.
Bulimia nervosa is more common amongst girls and women between the ages of 15 and 25, but it is important to recognise that this serious eating disorder can affect anyone of any age, gender and background, and is becoming increasingly prevalent in males.
What are the most common symptoms of bulimia nervosa?
Bulimia is associated with a whole host of symptoms, which can have an extremely detrimental effect on your physical and psychological wellbeing. The most common symptoms of bulimia to look out for include:
- Binge eating followed by purging
- Going to the toilet straight after meals to make yourself vomit or take laxatives
- An obsession with food and calories
- Exercising obsessively
- An overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame after binge eating
- Repeatedly weighing yourself
- Panic attacks
- Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
- Anger management issues
More detailed information on the symptoms of bulimia nervosa can be found on our bulimia symptoms page.