Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by eating large amounts of food and a need to eliminate what has been consumed.
Most frequently, a bulimic will “binge” on a large amount of food and vomit to “purge” the body of the caloric intake.
Other forms of bulimia include the need to “purge” through exercise starving for days following a binge, using substances like Ipecac to induce vomiting, and the use of laxatives and diuretics to “purge” food and water. When the bulimic uses methods other than vomiting to induce a purging effect, it is known as “non-purging bulimia.”
Read our page about Exercise Bulimia or Anorexia Athletica
A person with bulimia can be self-indulgent and secretive and have a difficult time delaying gratification in many areas of her life. Bulimia may cause dental damage, intestinal disorders, stomach problems, and frequently a drug or alcohol problem. Repeated vomiting causes mood swings due to a chemical imbalance. Bulimics tend to feel very isolated.
Bulimia Treatment in California at The Victorian
By combining the top clinical staff with an extremely desirable setting, The Victorian has become the leading provider of treatment for bulimia in California. The women who come to us for help overcoming bulimia nervosa quickly feel comfortable with our therapists and doctors and receive top-notch clinical treatment in a vibrant location where they live with other women who are overcoming eating disorders.
The Victorian Approach to Treating Bulimia
- One-on-one therapy
- Group therapy
- Body image groups
- Nutritional education
- Assistance with preparing and consuming meals in a group
- Supervised meals and snacks
- 12-Step support groups in Anorexia and Bulimics Anonymous as well as Overeaters Anonymous
- Exercise, including yoga, walking and weight training
- Highly monitored and structured living arrangements
- Art Therapy
- Volunteer Opportunities in the community
- Supervised group outings to restaurants (in phases 3 and 4)
You can read more about The Victorian’s eating disorder treatment program, or review an eating disorder program daily schedule to gain additional insight into what receiving treatment at The Victorian will be like.
Treatment at The Victorian begins when the woman or the woman’s family calls (888) 268-9182 or fills out our confidential request for assessment which will put them in touch with our staff of eating disorder experts who can answer all of your questions about bulimia treatment. The Victorian staff will help the woman get in touch with the appropriate level of treatment. If the assessment leads to the woman receiving treatment at The Victorian, she can take a tour of our facility or begin the process of admitting for bulimia nervosa treatment.
The women counselors and doctors at The Victorian will establish an open and trusting rapport with the female client to give her the best chance of opening up to learn more about her underlying issues that contribute to the bulimia. There will be a complete medical examination to evaluate the woman’s health and medical status. Next, every woman will get a unique program of recovery. The treatment process will be constant with groups and workshops all day long.
We find that physical fitness and outdoor activities allow the women to refresh their minds and spirits, allowing them to get back to their recovery-based therapeutic activities and maintain constant progress. While building self-esteem, these activities will help show the women how to “have fun, feel good about yourself, AND follow a healthy diet regimen.”
For more detailed information, view our eating disorder treatment daily activities schedule.
Causes of Bulimia – Getting to the Underlying Issues
Our staff has conducted extensive research into the underlying causes of bulimia. We also know that there are several forms of bulimia – read about Exercise bulimia and other forms) While we firmly believe that it is critical to explore the underlying issues that may be contributing to the disorder, we also feel that there is nothing positive to be gained by the family or loved ones feeling responsible or guilty about the bulimia nervosa.
Every woman is different with regard to the factors that contribute to her bulimic bingeing and purging. There is never one event, person,
or influencing factor to blame for a woman developing bulimia nervosa. We have found that there are usually a wide variety of influences that impact the women we treat for eating disorders, including the following:
- The media
- Traumatic events
- Genetic and biological factors
- Psychological factors
- Societal pressures and expectations
- The family system
Often, bulimia nervosa is the result of a negative self-image that has developed from a combination of some of the above factors. All of these issues will be thoroughly explored in therapy. Family therapy is also an option that is included in The Victorian treatment program. A good support system can be immensely beneficial in aiding a woman who is trying to stop bulimic eating patterns.
Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia can be difficult to identify. The family system can struggle under the weight of the underlying issues that contribute to the bulimia leading to denial that there is an eating disorder. Some of the warning signs of bulimia include:
- Binge eating – often the girls who come to the Victorian have been binge eating twice a week (average) for many months
- Regret after binges, including feelings of guilt, shame, and/or physical distress
- Compensation after binges by purging (vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics), exercising, or fasting
- Psychopathologic disturbance exhibited by a fear of fatness and perceived distortion of the body
- A sense of lack of control over eating (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
- Eating, in a short period of time, an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances
- Self-worth is excessively influenced by weight and physical appearance
- Tooth decay, enlarged salivary glands, scarred hands, and/or dehydration (symptoms of purging behavior)
- Chronic bowel problems
- Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat rhythm)