Eating disorders are not the type of condition to go away on their own. That’s why it’s important to seek professional help when someone suspects they have one. Bulimia nervosa treatment can teach individuals how to create and maintain good eating habits that won’t put their health at risk.
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of binging and purging food. To binge is to eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. Purging involves expelling the eaten food in abrupt, unhealthy manners, such as by inducing vomiting or misusing laxatives.
People with bulimia feel as though they have no control over their food intake during episodes of binge eating. They may possess a highly warped sense of body image that pushes them to try and lose weight through any means necessary. Often, they may combine the binge-purge cycle with tactics like excessive exercise or fasting.
However, these are not healthy methods to lose weight. In fact, they can cause long-term damage to someone’s physical and mental health if left unaddressed. For these reasons, it is crucial to seek bulimia nervosa treatment when someone shows signs of having the disorder.
Are you or a loved one in need of help?
Bulimia Nervosa in Veterans
Heroes’ Mile Eating Disorder Center (HMEDC) treats veterans with a variety of eating disorders, including bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. We want to emphasize specialized bulimia nervosa treatment for veterans due to how disproportionately they are affected by eating disorders compared to the civilian population.
In general, veterans are more susceptible to mental health conditions of all types, and eating disorders are no exception. In a study involving more than 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, one-third of the women and one-fifth of the men all exhibited symptoms of an eating disorder, as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
Veterans are considered a high-risk population for eating disorders due to their increased likelihood of living through traumatic events. For example, trauma related to combat exposure, unrealistic fitness requirements, food insecurity, and military sexual trauma (MST) can all lead to the development of an eating disorder.
When this happens, it is vital to seek help from a mental health professional. Whether someone needs binge eating, anorexia, or bulimia nervosa treatment, the best way to recover typically involves professional support.
Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Options
Effective treatment for bulimia exists in numerous forms. Therefore, HMEDC employs the use of several different treatment options to ensure our patients receive the best possible care. A few of the first-line treatments we use to help individuals with bulimia nervosa are outlined below.
One of the best treatment options for bulimia nervosa is talk therapy. As one of the oldest, most heavily researched treatment methods for many mental health conditions, talk therapy can greatly help individuals overcome bulimia nervosa. Its applications in regards to bulimia and other eating disorders depend somewhat on the type of therapy in which someone participates.
For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) stands as one very popular type of therapy. It focuses on someone’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and the intrinsic connections between all three. CBT argues that by changing one, someone can affect the other two as well.
CBT is part of our bulimia nervosa treatment program because of how it can positively influence someone’s beliefs about themself. For instance, a CBT therapist may ask their patient to identify unhealthy dietary rules or restrictions. They can trace this behavior back to a negative belief about their body, which can change after they challenge the dietary rules.
Secondly, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is another common form of therapy utilized during bulimia nervosa treatment. IPT emphasizes the importance of managing interpersonal relationships in a variety of ways. For example, IPT patients may discuss topics like unresolved grief, difficult role transitions, and social deficits.
IPT benefits people with bulimia by teaching them better ways to handle hurdles like conflict and loss. For veterans, these are valuable lessons that can help them process past trauma in a healthier, more complete manner. Since trauma is often linked to eating disorders like bulimia, taking steps to move past it can help people move past their eating disorders as well.
Another vital component of bulimia nervosa treatment involves thorough nutrition education. Ultimately, eating disorders are broken relationships with food. By mending those relationships through nutritional counseling and healthy meal plans, individuals can regain a sense of control over how they interact with food.
Nutrition education shines a light on the dangers of certain fad diets and why restricting food intake is not conducive to healthy weight loss. It helps patients accept that some of their food-related beliefs have become distorted in some way, and it shows them how to overcome their established food rules and triggers.
During bulimia nervosa treatment, nutritional therapy also promotes normal, consistent eating patterns. This may include a certain number of meals and snacks each day as well as knowledge of how to ward off purging behaviors afterward.
In some ways, where talk therapy heals the mind, nutritional counseling addresses the physical component of bulimia nervosa. It helps to reduce binge eating and purges. It also teaches individuals about what healthy, balanced diets look like, and how they can attain all the necessary vitamins and nutrients for a long life.
Inpatient Bulimia Nervosa Treatment
To further explore the treatment options outlined above, consider the inpatient eating disorder treatment program at Heroes’ Mile. We offer a high level of care to those who need the most support in overcoming their eating disorders. Our treatment programs emphasize the development of vital coping skills so patients can learn to successfully manage their symptoms.
In addition to the prior treatment options, other therapeutic activities someone may participate in during bulimia nervosa treatment at Heroes’ Mile include:
Inpatient treatment is an intensive type of program. For its duration, patients move into our tranquil, comfortable facility so they can spend as much time as possible immersed in recovery. Structured days full of therapeutic activities benefit individuals who need to regain a sense of stability and consistency in their lives.
Veterans Serving Veterans
In addition to the high quality of our bulimia nervosa treatment, another primary reason Heroes’ Mile is the best choice for recovering veterans is that we were built from the ground up for veterans, by veterans. We utilize trauma-informed care that stems from a place of deep understanding.
Our facility can achieve this level of thorough empathy because the majority of our staff members as well as all our patients are fellow veterans. When veterans attend civilian treatment centers, they may end up feeling ostracized or alienated by their unique military experiences. At Heroes’ Mile, we eliminate that concern.
Here, your peers know what you have been through better than anyone else. Our group therapy sessions bring veterans together to form long-lasting bonds built on mutual respect and understanding. These support groups can go on to serve you years into the future.
To learn more about our veteran-exclusive bulimia nervosa treatment program, contact our admissions specialists today. You can reach a team member by calling 888-838-6692 or filling out a confidential contact form online. We look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.