WHAT IS BULIMIA NERVOSA?
Bulimia nervosa is an illness, experienced primarily by women, that usually develops in adolescence or young adulthood. The condition is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating (consuming large quantities of food and often without control), followed by repeated inappropriate compensatory behaviors used to prevent weight gain. Such behaviors include vomiting, the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas, fasting or excessive exercise (without vomiting).
WHAT ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF THE DISORDER?
Sufferers of bulimia nervosa have a significant preoccupation with weight, but their actual body size may be small, normal, or even overweight. This weight status is the primary distinctive measure between bulimia and anorexia, which is characterized by a significantly low weight. Individuals with purging behaviors may be very secretive and their illness may even go unnoticed for long periods of time—it is therefore crucial that bulimia sufferers get help as early on as possible in order to better their chances of overcoming the disease.
Individuals with bulimia suffer from body image distortion and low self-esteem. They may also display significant signs of depression and anxiety, and many sufferers of this condition abuse substances as well.
HOW DOES THE CONDITION PROGRESS?
If left untreated, the medical complications associated with bulimia nervosa can be significant. Long-term therapy is beneficial for bulimia sufferers, as psychological consequences of the condition usually persist long after physical symptoms disappear or decrease.
HOW MIGHT I HELP TREAT MY CHILD’S BULIMIA?
Bulimia nervosa is most successfully treated by psychotherapy, in both an individual and group setting. This combination of both individual and group psychotherapy has a success rate of 95% reduction in binge eating and 80% abstinence rate and termination.
The most commonly used therapeutic approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT yields the highest rates of abstinence and reductions in binge eating and purging behaviors.
Other forms of psychotherapy used in treatment include stress management and self-monitoring. An intensely supportive environment and therapeutic relationships that encourage expression are used to alleviate depressive symptoms. Pharmacological approaches, such as antidepressants, may also be necessary.
OUR APPROACH AT NORTH SHORE PEDIATRIC THERAPY
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, we devise a customized treatment plan based on your child’s needs. Our licensed professional counselor, psychotherapist, neuropsychologist and dietician will all contribute to helping your child recover. Nutritional counseling may also be necessary and can be implemented by our dietician as well.
Eating disorders can also take a toll on the family, creating high levels of stress and conflict. Our counselors will work with all members of your family to make your home the most positive environment it can be, and one which promotes a speedy, optimal recovery.