The term “bulimia nervosa” translates from Greek to mean “great hunger”. Bulimia is characterized by having both distinct periods of eating significant amounts of food, called binge eating, and behaviors that are intended to cancel out or undo the consumption of large amounts of food. The behaviors intended to cancel out the food intake are often referred to as compensatory behaviors. Often there can be a lot of shame around the behaviors associated with bulimia. Bulimia can have serious medical consequences if untreated.
Signs of bulimia nervosa can include:
- Eating large portions of food in a short period of time
- Eating despite being physically full
- Eating very quickly
- Eating in secret (food disappears from the kitchen, wrappers found in room in garbage)
- Use of the bathroom immediately after eating
- Use of laxatives
- Use of enemas
- Exercising to cancel out calories
- Skipping meals or not eating to make up for the binge eating
- Focus on weight and appearance
Medical signs can include:
- Stomach problems
- Gastric Reflux
- Inflamed esophagus
- Tooth erosion / decay
- Mouth sensitivity
If you or someone you care about is exhibiting some of these symptoms, it is important that the person is evaluated as soon as possible. After an evaluation, the person will likely be recommended to build a treatment team, consisting of a physician, a therapist, and a dietitian. For many, the treatment team can also include family members or close friends. Many family members or friends of those with eating disorders may also benefit from meeting with a therapist for support.
I provide an initial assessment, individual therapy, and sometimes family therapy for those with bulimia nervosa. I work with people who may not be sure they want to change, with people who are actively making changes for recovery, and those who are actively in recovery. I also provide therapy to those who love someone with bulimia, including helping the loved one learn to address the eating disorder and providing support while the person with the eating disorder is on the journey to recovery.