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Bulimia Nervosa Counselling

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by bingeing on large amounts of food and then purging them. This eating disorder is deeply rooted in one of two things: negative perceptions of fat and body shape, or the need to take control of something in their life.

Women and Men can both suffer from Bulimia. Sufferers can feel all alone in their struggles unable to see any opportunities for help. An eating disorder counsellor can help identify the triggers, stressors, thoughts and feelings that are impacting the binge and purge behaviours.

Bulimia Nervosa Characteristics

Individuals suffering with Bulimia Nervosa typically know that the way that they eat is unusual and hide it out of guilt or fear. Doctors are uncertain about what causes Bulimia, so are usually not the best first port of call if you have a problem, you can end up being more confused or feeling judged by going to your GP. Bulimia can be triggered in many ways which could be any of the following: society, family, trauma, genetics, psychological factors, or cultural factors, because the outward behaviours are ways and means to cope with inward feelings and emotions.

There are two types of Bulimia.

  • Nonpurging Bulimia is a type of bulimia where the individual attempts to rid their body of the extra calories in ways that do not involve purging. Nonpurging Bulimics may fast in order to counteract their bingeing. This behaviour can become cyclical. They may also choose to exercise excessively and/or adhere to a strict diet in order to balance their bingeing.
  • Purging Bulimia is the type that people are most familiar with. With Purging Bulimia the client will rid themselves of excess calories after bingeing by forcing themselves to vomit, or by misusing diuretics, enemas, or laxatives

Both forms of Bulimia share a few common traits. Clients may live in fear of weight gain and/or eat until it hurts. They may feel preoccupied with their weight and how they look and/or feel that their eating behaviours are out of control. Individuals who exhibit any of the symptoms listed may want to consider seeking professional help.

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Options

A great place to start getting physically healthy again is with a primary care physician. Talking to a specialist can help to identify any physical health concerns that have developed due to suffering with Bulimia or otherwise. These concerns can be addressed in tandem to the sufferer’s psychological well being that is better addressed by a psychotherapist or a counsellor. Any of these people can help you to identify other local eating disorder resources.

A well rounded approach to bulimia treatment may involve the bulimic individual’s family and friends, medical providers, counsellors/psychotherapists, and possibly a nutritionist.

How Can Bulimia Counselling or Psychotherapy Help?

Counselling and Psychotherapy alike provide a safe and confidential environment to discuss the beliefs, thoughts and feelings that have led to an unhealthy relationship with food. They will act as a mirror to help the client analyse themselves in an effort to regain control and find healthy coping mechanisms. The client and the counsellor will work as a team to identify appropriate goals for treatment.

During counselling the emotions that impact the individuals decisions, specifically surrounding food, will be explored in an effort to develop a greater understanding of the binge and purge behaviours. Through understanding the sufferer will learn to eat for nutritional purposes. They will also learn how to develop a safe and appropriate workout schedule.

As Bulimia clients often struggle with their body image, a major focus of counselling will be to learn to accept themselves as they are. A by-product of this self acceptance will be improved self-esteem for the sufferer.