Bulimia Nervosa Treatment

Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening conditions that often result from severe emotional issues. Even though it seems as if body weight is the issue, it often has nothing to do with weight at all. The tendency to develop an eating disorder such as bulimia tends to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and emotional factors. It is important to seek treatment if you or a loved one suffers from this devastating disorder. Let’s take a closer look bulimia nervosa.

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia Nervosa, most commonly shortened to just bulimia is a serious eating disorder in which those who suffer from it have an unrealistic perception of an ideal body weight that is combined with an intense obsession to be skinny. Although bulimia does not discriminate against age, sex, ethnicity or gender, it most commonly affects adolescents and young adults. In fact, it is estimated that 4.7 million and 1.5 million females and males respectively will become a victim of bulimia.

How is Bulimia Diagnosed?

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, the following is the official criteria for diagnosing bulimia nervosa: 

  • Binge eating – binge eating means overeating at one particular sitting in an uncontrolled manner. Those who suffer from bulimia tend to binge eat on a regular basis without regard to caloric intake. This is because later they will purge.
  • Frequent and abnormal behavior to offset binge eating – This can include purging, laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, a period of fasting, and excessive exercise.
  • Self -worth – those who suffer from bulimia determine their self-worth based on their body weight.

In order to be considered bulimic, this abnormal behavior of binging and purging in some form must occur at least once a week and last for at least 3 months. For most, it occurs much more frequently and lasts for a significantly longer time before treatment is sought.

Use these strategies to help a loved one agree to seek treatment.
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Warning Signs That a Loved One is Suffering from Bulimia

Bulimia doesn’t just affect your physical health, it also affects your emotional well-being. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from this serious eating disorder, there are signs and symptoms you can look for:

  • Yellowish looking skin
  • Poor dental health
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Wears unnecessary baggy clothing to hide their body
  • Obsessive about food and weight
  • Visits the bathroom after eating
  • Refuses to eat in front of others
  • Withdrawn from social activities
  • Appears abnormally bloated
This is not an inclusive list, as everyone responds slightly differently to the disorder. Medical intervention is often necessary when it comes to helping those who suffer from bulimia.

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Center: Levels of Care

As with most disorders, bulimia can range from mild to very severe and even life-threatening. There are five levels of patient care for bulimia nervosa:

  • Level One: Outpatient – Patients do not require hospitalization, are medically stable, possess self-motivation, and the ability to correct behavior without constant supervision.
  • Level Two: Intensive Outpatient – Patients are also medically stable, self-sufficient, decent motivation, and tend to be in the normal range for body weight.
  • Level Three: Partial Hospitalization (Full-Day Outpatient Care) – Patients have mild health problems that require some hospitalization, poor motivation, requires the help of others to create structure.
  • Level Four: Residential Treatment – Patients suffer from health problems, lack the motivation to change habits, require supervision at all meals or they will binge and purge, may have suicidal tendencies.
  • Level Five: Inpatient Treatment – Patients suffer from serious health problems, require hospitalization, need constant supervision, may have suicidal tendencies.


If you are ready to discuss treatment for yourself or a loved one, the Fairwinds admissions team is here to help.

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Why Choose Fairwinds Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida

Thanks in part to the extensive expertise of founder Dr. Khal El-Yousef and eating disorder specialist Dr. Pauline Powers, Fairwinds Treatment Center is one of the most well-respected eating disorder centers in the nation. We treat bulimia nervosa in a close-knit and comfortable environment, encouraging patients to do the following:

  • Accept their body the way it is regardless of their shape or size
  • Integrate therapeutic experiential, nutritional and mindful experiences to improve quality of life
  • Live in the moment without constantly judging their weight and the type of or how much food they eat
  • Live without comparing oneself to others.

Our unique dual diagnosis methodology combines clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to promote lasting healing of the mind, body and spirit. We understand that each patient and each case of bulimia is unique, which is why we create a personalized plan for each out our patients to best meet their needs.

If you are ready to discuss treatment for yourself or a loved one, contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today.

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