Bulimia Diagnosis and Treatment
Everyone eats a bit more than usual from time to time. Be it Christmas pie, Thanksgiving turkey, or the 4th of July barbeque, all of them call out for feasting, and for many, it becomes hard to know when to stop eating something so scrumptious. But whenever these people eat a little too much, they have the great taste of food or the holiday season to blame. Among them is a small subset of individuals who cannot control how much they eat, whatever their circumstances. Such people binge on large amounts of food several times a week to such a high level that they are eventually forced to remove all of it through purging.
The abovementioned description perfectly describes bulimia nervosa, a serious eating disorder that can singlehandedly destroy millions’ personal and professional lives. Fortunately, it is also a problem that comes with a solution, as there are multiple treatment programs actively helping the affected individuals pull together appropriate eating plans for better health.
Individuals suffering from bulimia often have multiple treatment options open to them when it comes to leaving the disease behind for good and getting better. Some may choose to enroll in inpatient bulimia interventions that allow them to move into a rehabilitation facility for a few weeks so that they can truly focus on getting better. Others may go for outpatient bulimia treatment options that provide them with the flexibility to continue working or attending school as they heal.
Regardless of the format of treatment, most people experiencing bulimia require therapy. These therapies allow them to examine how the disorder came about and what they can do to make things better. Most bulimia nervosa therapies follow a cognitive behavioral format in patients:
- Learn to recognize the thoughts or situations that trigger an urge to purge or binge
- Acquire skills they can use as they confront an unavoidable trigger
- Establish escape routes to use to avoid triggers
- Practice healthy self-care and self-talk to minimize relapses and make triggers less enduring
According to expert analysis, people with bulimia nervosa typically respond to treatment within six to eight therapy sessions. This implies that they learn quickly and can put the lessons to good use very soon. A small number of people, however, are resistant to therapy and may require alternative approaches as a cure for bulimia. Medication therapy comprises one such alternative that may treat bulimia resistant to psychotherapy. One medication most inpatient and outpatient rehabs commonly use is fluoxetine, a common antidepressant medication that works by soothing electrical impulses in the patients’ minds. As soon as these impulses are under control, such people can handle the demands of their eating disorder with more grace and poise.
The most beneficial bulimia nervosa treatment for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and how entrenched they are in your daily life.
You may consider seeking outpatient care if:
- You wish to seek early intervention before your symptoms get worse
- You are physically stable
- You cannot leave your family, school, or work to seek treatment
- You cannot afford inpatient care because of its high cost
- Your symptoms are mild and do not keep you from performing most of your daily activities
Outpatient programs are more flexible than inpatient treatments as they allow you to live at home while attending therapy. In general, patients visit the rehab multiple times a week for a few hours daily to participate in counseling and therapy programs with different experts. Some parts of the outpatient treatment include family members and other loved ones, as they positively impact the overall recovery process.
Keep in mind that outpatient treatments do not usually address medical issues. So for someone who is medically unstable and requires urgent attention, an expert may likely recommend short-term hospitalization or inpatient treatment until their physical health improvise.
An inpatient program offers more comprehensive care than its outpatient counterpart, including additional aspects like nutritional and holistic support and mental and medical health care. A doctor or a therapist may encourage you to seek inpatient care if:
- Short-term treatments have failed to help you
- You have a chronic eating disorder that requires medical and nutritional support
- Outpatient treatment is not working for you
- Stressors and triggers in your daily life are making it difficult for you to focus on recovery at home
Once you complete an inpatient program, you may transition into outpatient care for ongoing recovery and healing.
Both outpatient and inpatient programs for bulimia nervosa treatment combine individual therapy, skills training, and group counseling with helping patients kickstart recovery by addressing their patterns of disordered eating. In either type of treatment, experienced counselors offer support and empathy as patients struggle to overcome their eating issues.
Most types of luxury anorexia treatment centers combine modern psychology, naturopathic medicine, and traditional disciplines in their whole-patient treatment model with helping clients achieve success in recovering from eating disorders. The range of therapies included in this mode includes:
- Person-centered therapy
- Craniosacral therapy
- Narrative therapy
- Art and music therapy
- Nutrition education and therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Stimulus belief response
- Harm reduction
- Redefining self-narrative
- Yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy
- Trauma-informed therapy
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- Exposure and response prevention
- Cognitive and dialectical behavior therapy
The primary goal of treatment is to break disordered eating patterns through different evidence-based approaches. The therapies mentioned above also help patients learn coping skills to get through difficult thoughts that may otherwise trigger eating disorder behaviors. As a part of bulimia nervosa treatment, you may also learn about nutrition through nutritional counseling that will teach you about the types and amounts of food you need to maintain good health. This therapy also aims to raise awareness about the long-term consequences of bulimia.
Thousands of eating disorders treatment programs are offered at various rehabs across the United States. From small providers to big centers, help is around the corner for patients to take advantage of. Despite the high availability and easy accessibility of treatment, only one in ten people with an eating disorder gets formal treatment for their ongoing issues. One way to help turn this number around is by assisting a person suffering from bulimia nervosa or another type of eating disorder in the rehab selection process.
Because bulimia often stems from a lack of control, those fighting this disorder may appreciate the opportunity to notice what a rehab stresses and what it offers. They may need to meet the staff members and the clinical team in person to decide whether or not they can relate to them. It is also a good idea to have a walk through the facility to ensure that they will feel comfortable living there. If a physical tour is not possible, some rehabs also arrange virtual tours for patients to help them put their stamp of approval on their chosen option.
When given an opportunity to pick a luxury bulimia nervosa treatment facility, it is imperative to know about the care and treatment of the rehab process. A few questions to ask the treatment team regarding this respect include the following:
- What professionals will be a part of the treatment?
- Will the treatment team include a qualified physician?
- What bulimia nervosa therapies are included in the program?
- What alternative therapies might be available?
- What are the benefits of these therapies?
- Are there any risks associated with this treatment program?
- What role will the family play?
- What amenities will the rehab offer?
- Does the program include private accommodation?
- What other services are available, such as personal chef, concierge, pool access, saunas, gym, etc.?
- How long will treatment last?
The questions mentioned above can help people with bulimia understand the different rehab options open to them and make decision-making easier.
Who is at risk of developing bulimia nervosa?
Bulimia affects females more than males, particularly during the early teenage years. People struggling with bulimia usually come from families with a positive history of eating disorders, mental health issues, or physical illness. Other factors like a history of addiction, anxiety disorder, or mood disorder may also increase the risk of acquiring bulimia nervosa later in life.
Why should I seek bulimia therapy at a rehab?
It is imperative to seek bulimia nervosa treatment from a professional rehab as soon as possible, as untreated cases can lead to multiple medical complications. These complications include:
Intestinal tears or blockages
Low heart rate
Constipation and delayed digestion
Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas
Electrolyte imbalances leading to heart failure
Nausea and vomiting
Type 2 diabetes
How does an eating disorder treatment center help with bulimia?
Eating disorder treatment centers are specialized facilities with multidisciplinary teams with training and experience in treating problems like bulimia nervosa. They usually operate on various levels of care, such as inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization, to provide individualized care and support to all clients.
What is the major problem of using medications for bulimia treatment?
Most rehabs offering bulimia nervosa treatment accept insurance to cover the cost of their programs, partially, if not all. In some cases, the insurance plan may not cover the entire treatment program, or you may require treatment for longer than your insurance covers. The specific treatment rehab you are interested in can offer you more guidelines on understanding the benefits of your insurance plan and talking to your insurance company. Some of these rehabs may also provide helpful resources for seeking financial assistance.
HOW THE BALANCE CAN HELP
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