How to Find the Right Bulimia Treatment For You

Bulimia treatment often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Read on to learn more about what treatment you may need.

Table of Contents

What Is Bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder where individuals often consume an excessive amount of food in one sitting and then purge either by vomiting, using laxatives, or partaking in excessive exercise. Getting bulimia treatment if you or a loved one are experiencing bulimia symptoms is imperative for getting you the help and support you deserve to heal.1

Those with bulimia may feel powerless when it comes to overeating. This brings up feelings of shame, guilt, and disgust, which may also cause them to feel the need to purge. Individuals may also fast as a way to make up for binging. These compensatory behaviors usually provide a sense of relief and the feeling that they have regained control. This cycle of binging and purging can range from mild to extreme and is a form of self-harm.

Questions About Treatment?

Let us guide you through your options and treatment opportunities. Contact Alternative Options today.

What Are the Symptoms of Bulimia?

It can be hard to tell if someone has bulimia, as individuals with the disorder may be either underweight, at a healthy weight, or overweight. This is due to many individual factors based on each person.2

Common Symptoms

However, some common signs of bulimia include:

  • Inflamed and sore throat from purging
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Sensitive or decaying teeth
  • Acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems
    Electrolyte imbalances
  • Feeling powerless when it comes to overeating
  • Binging and purging at least once a week

Unchecked, bulimia can cause further health issues. Getting bulimia treatment can help you heal your relationship with food and prevent any future complications.

Bulimia Risk Factors

While anyone can develop bulimia, it tends to be more common in women. Bulimia typically begins in adolescence. On average, bulimic behaviors start around 12.4 years old.3
Other risk factors for bulimia include:4
  • Past trauma
  • Parental alcohol and drug abuse
  • Other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
  • Low self-esteem or poor self-image
  • Feeling like life is out of your control
  • History of weight fluctuations, dieting, and frequent exercise
  • Having a family member with an eating disorder

Societal Expectations and Virtual Influences on the Development of Bulimia

Environment plays a huge role in both body image and the development of bulimia. Living in an area where diet culture is prevalent, and being thin is seen as the ideal can be destructive to a person’s self-esteem. This is then amplified through virtual influences, such as social media and advertising.

Social media is full of advertisements for weight loss programs and products, many of which are either ineffective or harmful. Also, social media is filled with perfectly photoshopped images of models and influencers who appear to be perfect. When these images are held up as the “ideal,” it can be easy to think there is something wrong with your body.

This then leads to the development of eating disorders. Studies show that young people who have a high level of social media engagement and use are also at higher risk for developing disorders like bulimia.5

Mental Wellness and Healing Strategies for Bulimia

Bulimia can be difficult to address on your own. If you or a loved one is suffering from bulimia, seeking professional bulimia treatment is the best option to get started on your healing journey.

Wellness Tips and Opportunities

However, there are some things you can do to either complement your bulimia treatment or begin healing on your own. Some tips and strategies for people suffering from bulimia include:

  • Learn more about bulimia and its effects
  • Talk to your primary doctor about your concerns
  • Be cautious with exercise and your relationship with food
  • Limit your exposure to harmful media
  • Throw away laxatives and other products used to purge
  • Utilize meditation and mindful eating practices
  • Find new ways to pamper yourself and do self-care
  • Use visual reminders and affirmations to help you make peace with your body
  • Join a support group if you feel up to it
  • Seek professional help

Bulimia Treatment Options

The best way to heal bulimia is through professional bulimia treatment. Often bulimia treatment can begin with a conversation with your primary doctor about your concerns. Taking a moment to touch base with your primary doctor can help you decide the level of bulimia treatment you will need. There are a few different levels of care available for bulimia treatment, depending on severity.

The most intense programs tend to be residential programs or inpatient hospitalization programs. These programs allow for high levels of supervision, and time specifically dedicated to activities to aid in recovery.

Partial hospitalization programs are a step down in care from residential programs. In these programs, individuals stay at a facility part-time for classes and therapy. Typically, participants return home for the evening and weekends.

Available Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient programs are another option for those seeking bulimia treatment. These programs allow you to stay at home but require regular check-ins, group therapy, and classes. Outpatient therapy offers both behavioral and psychodynamic therapies for bulimia treatment. These types of therapies help you both understand and address problematic behavior.

Many individuals who have bulimia also suffer from other mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression. Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are the most common medications used in bulimia treatment.

Bulimia Treatment at Alternative Options

If you or a loved one are struggling with bulimia, we’re here to help. At Alternative Options, we offer several therapies and treatments for bulimia. We understand that everyone’s treatment needs are different, so we offer multiple levels of care based on your specific needs.

We offer intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, and outpatient services. No matter what symptoms you may be experiencing, we will meet with you in order to create an individualized treatment plan that can treat your symptoms. We also offer treatment for other mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Reach Out and Begin Healing

Get in touch with us today and begin healing your relationship with eating. You don’t have to go through bulimia or its treatment alone – we are here to help and will give you the care you need. We will be with you or your loved one every step of the way during bulimia or eating disorder treatment.