Bulimia treatment program
As the National Institute on Mental Health describes, bulimia is characterized by excessive overeating followed by compensatory behaviors such as laxative abuse, vomiting, and/or compulsive exercising. The overeating portion of the disorder is out of control as are the efforts to eliminate the excessive calories consumed. This illness pitches sufferers from one extreme to another, and treatment is required to break this dangerous cycle.
A bulimia treatment program takes a multidisciplinary approach to this eating disorder. We believe it takes a “village” to rehabilitate an eating disorder, and for this reason, our staff includes medical doctors, therapists, nurses, nutritionists, and a chef who prepares and oversees the meal plans. The nature of bulimia requires supervision, and our caring staff is available 24 hours a day to provide the attention our bulimia clients need.
Unlike anorexics, bulimia sufferers may not appear to be dramatically underweight, although they may be malnourished. As this illness develops in secret and is managed in silence, loved ones will need to be vigilant to detect its presence. Signs and symptoms of bulimia include:
- Expressions of disgust about one’s body
- Worn tooth enamel/tooth decay due to stomach acid from purging
- Sore and inflamed throat
- Gastrointestinal problems, severe dehydration, and stomach distress
- Electrolyte imbalance which can cause a heart attack
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What bulimia treatment entails
As the Office on Women’s Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services discusses, bulimia is a treatable illness. Treatment includes medication and psychotherapy. The only drug that has been approved for the treatment of bulimia is fluoxetine (Prozac). This drug has been proven to decrease the binging and purging cycle, lessen the probability of relapse, and improve attitudes towards eating.
Psychotherapy encompasses many different theories of treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the role thoughts and thinking patterns play in how we feel, identify ourselves, and the behaviors we choose. CBT, as adapted to bulimia, has proven to be particularly effective. We offer CBT as part of our psychotherapy plan.
A comprehensive bulimia treatment program should offer a host of services geared towards addressing the psychology of this illness as well as the poor state of health it imposes on sufferers. But one of the most critical steps to recovery is getting a bulimia sufferer to step out of the shadows of this disorder and seek treatment. Friends and family members who suspect or have evidence that a loved one is suffering from bulimia can take the following steps to lead the person to treatment:
- Be honest and open about your concerns, but create a nonjudgmental atmosphere. Have information ready about available professional help.
- The conversation should take place in a quiet, confidential place where the bulimia sufferer feels safe to discuss your concerns and share her perception of her eating behaviors.
- Avoid a dismissive attitude or a simplistic approach that focuses on the sufferers need to eat; this disorder affects eating but has its roots in emotional experiences beyond eating.
- Assure the sufferer that he will have your full support in speaking with a professional and seeking treatment.
At The Recovery Village, we understand that treating bulimia is a delicate process that begins at the first moment of intake. Our expertly trained staff members have years of clinical experience and will conduct a comprehensive intake and medical evaluation process to diagnose bulimia as well as any co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. Working as a team, our staff members will develop an individualized plan dedicated to restoring the bulimia sufferer’s body to healthy functioning, addressing any substance abuse factors, and teaching the patient how to think about food in a healthy manner. For more information, contact us today.
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