Diagnosing and Treating Bulimia Online
Bulimia nervosa is a psychological, severe, life-threatening eating disorder. People with bulimia will typically consume an abnormally large amount of food, followed by an attempt to avoid gaining weight. This can be by purging, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics and exercising for extreme periods of time. This disorder typically leads to a lot of secrecy and lies, as patients try to keep these bingeing and purging episodes in secret.
There are two common types of bulimia nervosa, which include:
- Purging Type – most cases of bulimia are this type. In this form, individuals will regularly make themselves vomit after a period of bingeing.
- Non-Purging Type – this type of bulimia still begins with periods of bingeing, followed by other inappropriate methods to lose weight, like excessive exercising or fasting.
Because many patients suffering from bulimia keep secrets, it can be difficult to start early treatment. The earlier treatment can begin, the higher chance for a successful recovery.
You and your online therapist or psychiatrist can work together to determine the severity of your bulimia nervosa and what type of treatment is needed, or if a referral to a specialist is required. Your diagnosis will be based on the physical exam, duration, severity of symptoms and your medical history.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your therapist or psychiatrist will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for bulimia is different depending on the severity.
Negative body image and poor self-esteem are often underlying factors of the mental disorder. Because of this, it is important that therapy is integrated into the treatment plan for successful treatment. It is recommended that a team of medical professionals including medical doctors, nutritionists, therapists, and psychiatrists work with you for recovery. Treatment may include:
- Discontinuing the binge-purge cycle: this is the first step for successful treatment – this harmful cycle needs to be broken and then the individual can work to restore normal eating behaviors
- Improving negative thoughts: recognizing and changing one’s beliefs about weight, body shape, and dieting is essential
- Resolving emotional issues: this final phase focuses on healing from emotional issues that may have caused the eating disorder