In the last year, I have seen several clients seeking help for disordered eating who have been surprised to learn that they have an eating disorder. Why? Because receiving a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa didn’t fit what they imagined it to be.
When you picture bulimia nervosa, how does it look? You probably imagine someone thin who binge eats and then vomits afterwards. The reality can be different: people with bulimia nervosa are typically within a normal weight range or overweight. People with bulimia often have an intense focus on their shape and weight, and judge themselves harshly. This is particularly difficult, especially if you are overweight. The disorder is characterised by binge eating, which is the loss of control over eating, eating a large amount of food rapidly, and eating to the point of discomfort or feeling sick. People with bulimia then compensate for the binge eating. For some, this involves purging food (vomiting, or abusing medications such as laxatives). For others, this involves exercise or fasting- you don’t have to be purging to meet criteria for bulimia, and this is what surprises people.
It’s good to know that bulimia does respond to evidence-based treatment and that there are several treatment options available. Research has consistently indicated that with evidence-based intervention, around 50% of people recover from bulimia. Approximately 70% of people experience symptom reduction to the point where they no longer meet criteria for bulimia. Have hope, and seek a therapist who can offer you an effective treatment. If you would like to discuss your treatment options, you are very welcome to contact us for an appointment.