Bulimia is a serious eating disorder. The major symptoms are binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or ‘purging’. It is also quite common for a bulimic to abuse laxatives and diuretics. Purging may occur several times a day, often after each meal.
A common sign of someone suffering from bulimia is when they regularly disappear to the lavatory immediately after meals. A bulimic may also be very secretive about food and unwilling to discuss it, or frequently want to eat alone and isolate. Other symptoms and indicators are the erosion of dental enamel due to acid in the vomit, swelling of the glands near the cheeks, a depressed mood and frequent complaints of sore throats and abdominal pain.
We work with bulimia a lot and understand that it is a condition which exists in a frame of rage, guilt and shame, and sufferers are frequently very skilled at masking symptoms. Bulimia can thus often go on for many years without becoming apparent to others. This is because the sufferer’s weight usually remains relatively constant, and outwardly there may be no sign that anything is wrong; they are ‘hidden in plain view’.
At CHARTER we have significant success in treating bulimia. It does take time to reduce and finally arrest the pattern of binging and purging, but it is possible. During this time we work hard with you to identify the emotional disturbance that causes you to want to so violently react. We will help you to listen to yourself and your feelings, so that you can begin to develop a more caring and respectful relationship with yourself. This is your greatest asset in remaining abstinent, for if you care about yourself you are less likely to cause yourself harm.
Although they often seem to be sociable and gregarious, people suffering from bulimia usually have very low self-esteem and are conflicted in how much and what they are allowed to receive. They may also place a lot of importance on their image, weight and appearance about which they are deeply insecure. At CHARTER we support you with care and understanding so that you are able to being to believe in yourself. Readmore +
Although outward symptoms are often subtle and/or concealed, bulimia has severe physical consequences: frequent binging and purging will cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, and vomiting can lead to low levels of essential salts in the body. This can cause weakness in the muscles, kidney problems and dangerous heart problems. Acid from the stomach also erodes the tooth enamel. When someone has been vomiting regularly and for a long time, the body becomes used to rejecting food. It takes time and careful therapeutic management to change the bulimic’s controlling relationship with food to a healthy one.
Being in relationship with a bulimic is scary as you will be on edge and ready for the next rageful outburst in the same way they submit to painful physical purges. Learning how to remain boundaried and still caring around this pattern of behaviour takes practice and support. At CHARTER we can provide you with this support and education at our popular Family Group on Tuesday evenings, a valued resource and vital first step for many family members, and where many families and partners often begin their own recovery journey.
Bulimia frequently occurs together with other psychiatric disorders such as depression and substance dependence and these can also be treated here at CHARTER where we have good collaborative relationships with leading London specialist and consultants. It is possible to recover from bulimia and break free from this vicious cycle…baby steps.
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Some members of our team are in long term recovery from eating disorders themselves so know what it’s like to stand where you are standing. You can make an appointment with our assessment team using our Enquiry Form or simply give us a call so that we can discuss your treatment options and how we can help you or a member of your family.
We also have a library of useful documents for you to download and read in our PDF Library.PDF LIBRARY
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