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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Bulimia: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Eating Disorders


Alternate Names : Binging-Purging, Bulimia Nervosa, Hyperorexia

Bulimia | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

A team approach to treatment is most effective. This includes:

  • aggressive medical management
  • nutritional rehabilitation and counseling
  • individual, group, and family psychotherapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Bulimia may be treated in the hospital, or on an outpatient basis. The person's weight, cardiac status, and overall health influence the treatment choice. Some people become so malnourished that they need to be fed through tubes to stay alive. They will have strict rules about eating and weight management.

    A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy are often effective.

  • Cognitive therapy helps individuals identify and question the reality of their beliefs about eating and weight.
  • Behavioral therapy is designed to help change the behaviors that keep the illness going.
  • Family therapy helps family members learn about the illness. They learn what they can do to help their loved ones recover. Sometimes, family problems need to be addressed before recovery can begin.
  • Medications are rarely used to treat bulimia. If the person has significant depression, antidepressants may be used.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    If antidepressants are used, they may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and constipation.

    What happens after treatment for the disease?

    Psychotherapy usually continues for at least one year after treatment starts. Some individuals may need 5-6 years of therapy. People who recover from bulimia need to be aware that this illness can recur.

    How is the disease monitored?

    The individual will have regular visits with the healthcare provider. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the provider.

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    Bulimia: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Brenda Broussard, RD, CDE
    Date Reviewed: 06/01/01

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