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Bulimia Nervosa - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery. Our Woodland Hills, CA Center for Discovery location specializes in treating this Eating Disorder.

Bulimia Nervosa Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery |
Woodland Hills, CA

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa, also referred to as bulimia, is a serious eating disorder that has potentially fatal medical and psychological consequences. It is characterized by repeated instances of eating significantly more food than what most people would eat in a short period of time, followed by one or more behaviors to attempt to compensate for the food eaten. These behaviors, also known as purging or compensatory behaviors, might include vomiting, intense exercising, or the use of substances like diet pills or laxatives. It is associated with significant impairment in the individual's life and occurs, on average, once per week for at least three months.

What are the signs and symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa?

Individuals struggling with bulimia often appear to be of average weight, so it can be difficult to identify when a person is suffering from it. Below is a list of signs and symptoms commonly found in individuals who suffer from it:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a relatively short period of time, also known as binge eating

  • Feeling out of control with food

  • Eating until uncomfortably full

  • Intentionally vomiting after eating

  • Using the bathroom during or immediately following meals

  • Exercising vigorously in order to compensate for food eaten, despite fatigue, injury or illness

  • Using medications or substances such as laxatives, diuretics or diet pills after a binge episode in order to prevent weight gain

  • Feeling preoccupied, worried or sad about body or weight

  • Struggling to fulfill responsibilities as a result of eating patterns, exercise habits or thoughts about appearance

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What causes Bulimia Nervosa?

Like other eating disorders, a combination of different factors can lead to the development of bulimia. Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics or other biological factors

  • Emotional factors, such as feelings of inadequacy

  • Cultural and societal pressures to be “thin”

  • Interpersonal dynamics, such as impaired communication in relationships

It is important to keep in mind that contributing factors are unique to each person and no one cause is solely responsible for causing bulimia.

What are the medical consequences?

In bulimia, the repeated binge and purge cycle can severely damage a person’s digestive system. Purging behaviors can lead to life-threatening electrolyte and chemical imbalances which affect functioning of the heart and other critical organs. Below is a list of medical consequences and symptoms:

  • Electrolyte imbalances which cause irregular heartbeats and can possibly lead to heart failure or death

  • Damage and inflammation of the esophagus and peptic ulcers from repeated vomiting

  • Tooth staining and decay from stomach acid

  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation due to laxative abuse

Take a tour of our Woodland Hills, CA Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Center For Discovery Woodland Hills, CA specializes in outpatient treatment for bulimia nervosa with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.

For more information, resources, or to consult with an eating disorder treatment specialist, call 866.482.3876

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Do I have an eating disorder?
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Does my loved one have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Do I have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Does my loved one have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Why is treatment for bulimia important and what to expect in the eating disorder treatment program.

With bulimia, a self-perpetuating cycle of binging and purging is developed over time. The cycle becomes more and more difficult to break despite the distress being caused. Many people suffering from bulimia are aware that their behaviors could be dangerous to their health but are often unable to break the cycle without professional help. Bulimia, like other eating disorders, has an increased risk of death due to medical consequences or suicide. An individual’s chance for recovery greatly improves the earlier bulimia is detected, so prompt intervention is essential.

The bulimia recovery program at the Woodland Hills, CA treatment facility usually involves psychotherapy or counseling in combination with careful management of medical and nutritional symptoms. Therapy might include individual, family or group therapy as well as other specialized therapies. Treatment is provided by a comprehensive team of eating disorder professionals, usually including a therapist, medical doctor and dietitian. The treatment plan and goals will be individually tailored to each person in order to address his or her unique needs.  

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