Begin Recovery with Client-Centered Bulimia Treatment
Eating Disorder Solutions of Dallas Texas is the best choice for bulimia treatment because we offer comprehensive treatment plans that include highly effective residential and outpatient programs to meet the needs of our clients no matter where they are in their journey to physical and mental wellness. Individuals on their road to recovery can trust us to provide expert guidance for their specific type of bulimia through the help of our onsite physicians, psychiatrists, counselors and dietitians.
Unlike other facilities with a standardized treatment model, our process creates individualized bulimia treatment plans to address the unique physical challenges and emotional concerns that every client has. Our solutions forge strong relationships, creating an atmosphere of trust and openness.
Even though an eating disorder may not be visible to those around you, it is a serious physical and mental health condition. Those affected by bulimia nervosa are typically at a normal body weight, allowing the illness to go unnoticed and causing the sufferer to feel he or she does not have a “true” eating disorder resulting in even more shame. Bulimia nervosa requires treatment from medical professionals to prevent further harm. Symptoms include frequent weight fluctuation, dehydration, dental caries, tooth decay, inflamed esophagus, acid reflux, constipation, decreased gastrointestinal function, amenorrhea, fluid electrolyte imbalance, and even cardiac arrest.
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At Eating Disorder Solutions, we offer a wide range of bulimia treatment types, including the following:
- Residential treatment programs
- Nutrition education and dietary support
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Outpatient treatment programs and long-term support
Get Help with Bulimia Today
The best time to seek treatment for bulimia nervosa either for yourself or for a loved one struggling with this disorder is today. A complete bulimia treatment plan at Eating Disorder Solutions will focus on three main goals, which include the following:
- Stopping the cycle of binging on food followed by purging
- Improving thoughts about weight, body shape, body size and dieting techniques
- Finding help for emotional battles that are often at the root of bulimia nervosa
When most of our clients initially come to one of our treatment centers located in Dallas Texas, they are suffering with many physical issues brought on by their binging and purging cycles. Therefore, we must first address physical symptoms to stabilize the client’s medical status. This may include hospitalization with intense monitoring for the first several days and specialized nutritional support to bring the client’s weight back to normal if needed. Some clients require medical management for such concerns as abdominal pain, constipation and dehydration as well as psychiatric management for concurrent mood disorders.
Once the client’s medical status has stabilized, we will focus more of our attention on psychiatric care as part of bulimia treatment. Because our focus at Eating Disorder Solutions is complete physical and mental health, our treatment plans are designed to help develop a new and better relationship with food. Through group and individualized counseling as well as with the support of our registered dietitians, we can help our clients develop more appreciation for their current body shape and size and can support them as they reach healthy weights and build nutritious dietary plans.
While the residential portion of bulimia treatment is vital for physical health and a rebalancing of both emotions and mindset, we know that treatment must be long-term for clients to achieve lasting success with their recovery. We achieve this through our outpatient care program, which provides support through our professional physicians, dietitians and counselors as well as the emotional support from others going through the same treatment. Our goal is to heal the relationship to food through proper education, new eating habits, healthy responses to negative emotions and self-forgiveness.
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What Is Bulimia?
Bulimia nervosa, also simply called bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by a cyclical pattern of binging on huge amounts of food, which is typically followed by purging the food from the body. Individuals eat enormous numbers of calories in one sitting, consuming food only to try to get rid of it immediately. This purging is often done through vomiting, but some individuals may use diuretics or laxatives to help them maintain their weight. Others try to burn off calories through excessive exercising or limit future calorie intake through fasting.
Because it is impossible to get rid of all of the calories eaten in one sitting, some individuals struggling with bulimia have with higher than normal weights. Others maintain normal weights or end up with low weights. No matter the situation, bulimia treatment must address the physical concerns of huge meals, dehydration, vomiting and poor bowel habits that often accompany this diagnosis.
Bulimia is not just a physical disorder, it is also a mental disorder that revolves around incorrect thoughts and emotions associated with one’s body, diet and self-image. Common thought patterns typically center on food, eating and body shape. Individuals may brutally judge themselves and pick out nonexistent personal flaws upon which they can fixate. Bulimia treatment must address these mental and emotional concerns to be effective long-term.
Bulimia Signs and Symptoms
Bulimia treatment at Eating Disorder Solutions is designed to address both the physical and mental symptoms of the disorder. The most common physical signs and symptoms associated with bulimia include the following:
- Wildly fluctuating weight
- Eating past the point of discomfort
- Eating huge meals
- Keeping hidden stashes of junk food
- Secretive meal eating or snacking
- Disappearing to the bathroom after eating
- Regularly fasting or dieting
- Exercising excessively
Because many individuals suffering from bulimia use vomiting to purge after eating, they may also have signs and symptoms of regularly induced vomiting, which could include the following:
- Scars on the knuckles
- Swollen cheeks
- Discolored teeth
- Tooth decay
- Scrapes and cuts in the mouth or throat
- Gastric reflux
Mental and emotional signs of bulimia are often the first clues family members and friends notice in a loved one suffering from bulimia nervosa. The most common mental signs and symptoms of this disorder include the following:
- Frequent complaints about being fat
- Poor body image and constant nit-picking about supposed body flaws
- Mood swings
- Interpersonal problems
Common Bulimia Side Effects
Over time, these symptoms can create long-term side effects on both the body and the mind. Without immediate bulimia treatment, binging and purging cycles can eventually create the following concerning and even life-threatening problems that affect nearly all body systems.
- Peptic ulcers
- Severe digestive problems
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Low blood pressure
- Heart attack or heart failure
- Low electrolyte levels
- Amenorrhea in women
- Substance abuse
- Depression and anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-injury
It is vital to seek treatment before these dangerous side effects begin to appear. Some side effects lead to disastrous consequences that can never be completely corrected. Family and friends often notice this eating disorder in the early stages, but may feel too scared to say anything to their loved one about it or may live in denial of what they have noticed. Even though the individual suffering may deny his or her condition, family members and friends should lovingly advocate for bulimia treatment at Eating Disorder Solutions to address the physical and mental sides of this illness.
Types of Bulimia
While bulimia is characterized by excessive eating and by a fixation on weight gain and body image, the way individuals deal with the excess calories can vary. For this reason, bulimia can be divided into two major types: purging and nonpurging. Bulimia treatment will be individually designed to address the unique physical concerns as well as food and body anxieties displayed through the client’s specific bulimia variant.
The purging type of bulimia is by far the most common variant affecting teenagers and adults, and it is what most people think of when they hear the term bulimia. The binging cycle is followed by the need to purge the calories immediately from the body. Many individuals choose to induce vomiting by using their fingers inside their mouths and throats. However, others use diuretics or laxatives to get rid of the food quickly and to soothe their distraught minds.
Although less common, nonpurging bulimia is a recognized variant of this eating disorder in which the individual does not purge the food from their body immediately upon eating. Instead, they will try to manage body weight by having long periods of unhealthy fasting following each binge cycle or by exercising vigorously for long periods to burn off the calories. Those who try to starve themselves through fasting end up with slower metabolisms, making it more difficult to lose weight in the future. The exercise type of bulimia is the hardest for family members and friends to recognize because the visible symptoms may appear nearly ordinary.
Common Bulimia Causes
Unlike many other physical conditions that can be traced to unhealthy lifestyle habits or even to specific genes, the exact cause of bulimia is difficult to pinpoint. Despite research into this disorder, the cause of bulimia remains unknown to this day, but scientists, physicians and psychiatrists believe that certain risk factors are at the heart of the disorder. In particular, they point to the following as possible root causes in most cases.
Many times, bulimia follows genetic patterns, showing up frequently in one family, but not at all in a different family. For example, those whose parents or siblings have been diagnosed with this eating disorder have a heightened risk of requiring bulimia treatment in the future as well. Some statistics suggest that those who have parents with bulimia are four times more likely to be diagnosed with the same disorder as compared to the general population. In fact, genetics may be the cause of bulimia in up to 50% of cases.
- Mental and emotional disorders
- Continual dieting
- Personality traits
- Societal norms
Bulimia affects women more often than men. Estimates show that approximately 4.7 million women are currently struggling with bulimia in the United States while 1.5 million men have been diagnosed. Bulimia often occurs concurrently with other mood or mental disorders. Approximately 50% of people with bulimia have anxiety or some other mood disorder, such as obsessive compulsive disorder. In addition, approximately 10% struggle with a substance abuse disorder concurrently, and many misuse alcohol.
Many people with bulimia feel very negative about themselves and their bodies. They are often stressed or have gone through significant life changes, and many have recently been through traumatic events. All of these stressors can combine to create the perfect storm of negative feelings that can lead to the psychological side of bulimia.
Individuals who have focused on dieting for much of their lives are also predisposed to bulimia because they have conditioned their minds to think constantly about their food, their body shape and their weight. The caloric restrictions that are a part of many diets can trigger binge eating and start a purging or fasting cycle.
Those with certain personality traits are at a heightened risk of developing bulimia. This includes those who frequently display the following characteristics:
- High rigidity
- Judgmental attitudes
- Preoccupation with little details
- High impulsivity
Modern culture and messages found on social media and in advertising frequently solidify negative ideas. The need to be thin and to have just the right body shape is a major message found online, in movies, at school, work and many other places. Plus, these thoughts can be further solidified by personal trainers, athletic coaches, parents, and friends who tell these individuals to lose weight to be healthier or to look better.
By determining what the causes of a client’s bulimia could be, we create a highly individualized bulimia treatment plan that addresses thought patterns, ideas about food and interpersonal relationships that could be helping to trigger the dangerous binging and purging patterns.
Bulimia Diagnosis at Eating Disorder Solutions
A bulimia diagnosis requires four specific findings:
- Regular episodes of binge eating, which is defined as eating far more at one time than the average person would. A loss of control over eating is also a significant part of this category.
- Using one or more means to limit weight gain, such as vomiting, using laxatives, fasting or exercising.
- An individual binge eats and uses one of the above compensatory behaviors at least one time per week, and this behavior has lasted three months at minimum.
- An individual has a negative thought pattern about his or her weight, body shape and size or general self-image.
The diagnosing physician or psychiatrist will use a tool called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly called the DSM-5. This tool includes the above criteria and will also help the physician determine the extent of the bulimia, which can be rated from mild to extreme based on the number of binging episodes that occur each week.
A physician will most likely need to perform other tests to determine how the disorder is affecting physical health. They will perform a physical examination and will privately ask the client about his or her symptoms. They may also order blood tests, urine tests and an EKG to check out the strength of the heart. In addition, a psychiatrist will provide a complete psychological evaluation.
Of course, a proper diagnosis is vital for getting the right bulimia treatment plan in place. The physician may need to rule out other diagnoses that could be causing the symptoms and will need to determine if there are concurrent physical or mental diagnoses that could affect the course of the treatment.
At Eating Disorder Solutions, we believe that the best bulimia treatment is the one that is tailored toward your unique needs and that treats you as a valuable human being who deserves to enjoy a full, vibrant and fulfilling life. Our integrated treatments will help you develop a better relationship with food while strengthening and caring for your body. Contact us today to get started on the road to recovery.