Bulimia Nervosa

Updated: July 23, 2022

This eating disorder involves cycles of binge eating followed by purging, causing emotional turmoil and physical strain. Uncovering the reality behind the disorder is vital to foster understanding and support for those affected.

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What Is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Nervosa is a complex and serious eating disorder characterised by repeated episodes of binge eating, followed by compensatory behaviours to purge the body of the consumed calories. People with bulimia often engage in excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, or misuse of laxatives and diuretics. The disorder typically stems from a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Low self-esteem, body image issues, and societal pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards are often contributing factors.


Individuals with bulimia often keep their struggle hidden due to feelings of shame and guilt. Despite maintaining a relatively normal body weight, the disorder wreaks havoc on physical health, leading to electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, dental issues, and other complications. Early intervention and compassionate support are crucial in helping those affected by bulimia regain control of their lives and establish a healthier relationship with food and self-image.

What Are The Symptoms?

Compensatory Behaviours

Engaging in self-induced vomiting, excessive exercising, using laxatives, diuretics, or fasting to counteract the effects of binge eating.

Dental Issues

Frequent vomiting can lead to tooth decay, enamel erosion, and gum problems.

Disappearance After Meals

Frequent trips to the bathroom after eating, possibly to induce vomiting.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Repeated purging can cause stomach pain, acid reflux, and oesophageal issues.

Guilt & Shame

Feelings of disgust or guilt about food consumption and body image, leading to emotional distress.

Obsession With Body Weight & Shape

An intense preoccupation with body image, often leading to a distorted self-perception.

Psychological Impact

Mood swings, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem are common.

Recurrent Episodes Of Binge Eating

Consuming large amounts of food within a specific time frame, feeling a lack of control during the episode.

Secrecy & Isolation

Attempts to hide eating habits from family and friends, withdrawing from social activities.

Weight Fluctuations

Weight may vary, but individuals with bulimia often maintain a relatively normal weight or have fluctuations.

What Are The Causes?

The exact cause of bulimia nervosa is not fully understood, as it is likely influenced by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Several potential causes and risk factors have been identified:


Genetics: Having a family history of eating disorders may increase the likelihood of developing bulimia, suggesting a genetic predisposition.


Biological factors: Imbalances in brain chemicals, such as serotonin, which plays a role in regulating mood and appetite, may contribute to the development of bulimia.


Psychological factors: Low self-esteem, negative body image, and preoccupation with weight and shape may contribute to the development of bulimia.


Environmental factors: Societal pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards, peer influences, and cultural emphasis on body image and thinness can play a role in triggering bulimia.


Stress and traumatic events: Stressful life events or experiences of trauma may act as triggers for the onset of bulimia in some individuals.


It’s essential to note that each person’s experience is unique, and not everyone with risk factors will develop bulimia. Additionally, eating disorders are complex mental health conditions, and their development often involves a combination of these factors. Early intervention and professional treatment are crucial in addressing the root causes and providing effective support for those affected by bulimia.

How Phinity Therapy Can Help

The treatment of bulimia nervosa typically involves a combination of therapies tailored to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of the disorder. Here are some common approaches Phinity Therapy can offer:


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is one of the most effective therapies for bulimia. It helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours related to body image, self-esteem, and food. The goal is to develop healthier coping strategies and more positive beliefs about oneself.


Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and communication skills. It helps individuals explore and address how their interactions with others may contribute to their eating disorder and emotional distress.


Family Therapy: Involving family members in the therapy process can be beneficial, especially if family dynamics play a role in the development or maintenance of bulimia. Family therapy aims to improve communication, support, and understanding within the family unit.


Nutritional Counselling: We can help you to understand and establish a balanced and healthy eating plan, dispel food-related myths, and address any fears or anxieties around specific foods.


Relapse Prevention: Our therapists work with you to develop coping strategies to prevent relapse and address potential triggers and stressors.


Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This approach aims to enhance motivation and commitment to change behaviours and engage fully in the treatment process.


We recognise the importance of tailoring therapy to each person’s unique needs and circumstances. Early intervention and long-term follow-up care are crucial in achieving sustainable recovery from bulimia nervosa.

What Are The Causes?How Phinity Therapy Can Help


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