Bulimia: Knowing When To Seek Treatment

 

Deciding when to seek treatment is probably the hardest step in the recovery process. It requires you to realize that you need help and that you can’t beat your eating disorder alone. Seeking professional assistance is necessary because of the life-threatening status of eating disorders. When your eating disorder is in control, you lose the ability to think rationally and to see the damaging effects it has on your physical and mental health. A therapist can help you look at the situation logically and learn coping skills to deal with stress or poor self-esteem associated with your disorder.

The lack of seriousness taken by many patients regarding the medical sequeale of Anorexia and Bulimia, contributes to the inability to choose the best protocol for care and therefore increases the likelihood of treatment failure. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

When deciding if therapy is the right option for you, it is important to ask yourself these questions:

Source: newenglandtreatmentcenter.com

Is It Causing You Harm?

Source: healthliving.today

Eating disorders isolate you from your loved ones and cause you to doubt your own views and beliefs. Your insecurity and poor self-image is in control of your actions and behaviors.

Harm doesn’t necessarily mean physical symptoms, though these are also a cause for concern. Harm can refer to emotional and social harm. One example of this is that your mental state can be altered by low self-esteem and negative self-talk, both of which can lead to a damaging body image.

Bulimia nervosa will also manifest physically. This can be through harmful weight loss or acid reflux disorder. These disorders can cause pain to the individual.

Anyone who is has an eating disorder is very invested in maintaining the thoughts and behaviors that fuel it, so when a loved one expresses concern they may be met with anger or defensiveness. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Is It Affecting The People Around You?

Your eating disorder will affect you and everyone around you. It will put a strain on your relationships. When someone’s friend or family member is hurting themselves and not seeking to change, it’s stressful for the individual. It’s unbelievably hard to watch someone you love damage himself in permanent ways because he won’t admit he has a problem.

Your eating disorder will make you to act out and become isolated from the people around you. This is because your disorder is in control of your decisions, not you. You will find yourself making excuses and avoiding interaction because you’re too afraid of getting caught. You dread to face the consequences.

If you notice that you are pulling away from your friends and family, it’s time to seek treatment and professional help. The situation gets much more dangerous when you lack a support system to encourage you and provide strength when things get really hard.

 

Is It Preventing You From Living A Normal Life?

Source: boldsky.com

Your eating disorder can potentially prevent you from experiencing a normal life. You will become so focused on what food you are consuming and the act of purging that you will neglect your daily tasks and the jobs that need to be completed.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Bulimia is a very secretive disorder, as mentioned earlier. You will hide your behavior around food and it will cause you to isolate yourself from the society. Professional help is needed to go on living a normal life while battling your disorder. You need to be equipped of the tools to cope with your poor self-image and low confidence levels.

If you find yourself unable to attend school or work, you are in a dangerous territory because you/re losing control. Once you neglect the activities you love, you have reached life-threatening waters and should seek help immediately. It’s important to reach out for treatment, even if you’re scared of people finding out about you. Your mental health is the most important thing and should be your priority.

Bulimia And Depression – The Connection, Its Dangers, The Cycle, And Online Therapy

 

Source: thebluediamondgallery.com

 

What came first? Is it the chicken or the egg? Nobody can answer that question and the same rings true for the connection between bulimia and depression. If you think about it, why is the person depressed? Why is he or she bulimic? Could it be that he or she was suffering from depression first, that’s why the person developed an eating disorder? Or is it possible that through the person’s bulimia, he or she became depressed?

Symptoms of depression including sleep disturbance, excessive guilt, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable, can be the byproduct of feeling trapped or stuck in a behavior that they know on some level is harmful to them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Thinking about the extreme phenomenon is head-splitting, and truly crazy. Nobody wants to be depressed, but to be bulimic at the same time, it’s too much!

 

The Two Mental Health Disorders Go Hand In Hand

So, there you go. It’s official. A study revealed that people with anorexia tend to exhibit depression especially if they have bulimic tendencies. These are clinically diagnosed cases with a very high rate of people manifesting suicidal thoughts. A study by Levy in 1989 uncovered that people with bulimia are mostly depressed and have contemplated or attempted suicide. Another research proved that 59% of people with bulimia, who are of average weight, have suffered depression. As for anorexics, the rate is astounding at 80%.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

A Chain That Links Bulimia And Depression

You often hear bulimics say – I only want to lose weight. Yes, that’s usually the honest answer. People want to look fit and healthy even if their insides are not in tiptop shape.

Because patients deny the severity of their condition they cannot accept the effects of malnutrition on heart, brain, organ and bone health. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

If you are bulimic, then you have a mental health issue since it is an eating disorder. You are not only sick physically, but you are also psychologically “ill,” so to speak. Your hormones are in constant disarray since your serotonin and norepinephrine levels are unstable. It can increase the risk of you developing a more extreme depressive disorder and an abnormal eating habit, or non-eating, for that matter.

 

Factors That Contribute To The Development Of Depression And Bulimia

–    Self and body image issues

–    The feeling of not being in control of his or her life

–    “Loser” attributes

–    Being unhealthily angry

–    Extreme sadness or feeling all alone

–    Insomnia or oversleeping

–    Failed relationships

–    Post-traumatic stress

–    Physical, verbal, emotional, and mental abuse

 

The Bulimic Cycle

They call it the “Act of Purging.” You binge-eat, and then you purge. Why? A bulimic person must feel in control, and after feeling guilty for overeating, they will throw it all up and by that, regain that “I-am-in-command” feeling. This pattern is called the bulimic cycle.

 

It is disturbing because the guilt trip can add to the severity of the depression in people with bulimia. As if one mental health disorder is not enough – they need to suffer more! It’s crazy! For some, they even commit suicide and succeed, which is very dangerous. Purging may be the lesser of two evils if the other choice is fatal self-harm. It will never be a good option, but then at least, the person still has a chance to survive. With overflowing support and massive help, bulimics with depression may be able to cope, heal, and in time, start a new life free from mental health issues.

 

Source: flickr.com

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

TreatmentFor Depression And Bulimia

Lisa Lilenfeld, Ph.D. from Argosy University in Arlington, VA said that there are two proven ways to help a depressed bulimic. One is through medication and intake of antidepressants. But this method is not safe for everyone.

 

The second way is through behavioral therapy. It may take a long time for the person to improve psychologically, but with regular sessions and follow-up, there is hope for a brighter future. For some, they also resort to online therapy when an actual face-to-face encounter is not viable. Anyway, as long as the treatment program is useful, then, there’s no problem.

Helping Your Teen Fight Against Bulimia (Tips From A Psychiatrist)

  

Source: thebluediamondgallery.com

 

Bulimia nervosa, a severe psychiatric disorder, has made a significant impact on the society. According to a study, about eight million individuals in the United States (about 3% of the population) struggle with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. It affects men and women of all ages and race, whatever history, and background.

 

Moreover, the symptoms of bulimia often manifest at an early age, around teenage years. It is because disorders and mental issues often arise during stages of growth like puberty. But as parents, how can we pinpoint whether or not our child is struggling with bulimia? And most importantly, how can we help in seeking treatment and fighting against it?

Oftentimes, symptoms and behaviors are rationalized and minimized by the person who engages in them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Causes Of Bulimia

Like anorexia and other eating disorders, the exact cause of bulimia nervosa is often difficult to determine. There may be risks of forming genetic links if, say, a parent or a sibling is suffering from an eating disorder. Some studies imply that brain activity may influence food intake. Pop culture also has a significant role in projecting the perfect “body image” onto the public, which instills pressure and decreases the self-esteem of many.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

 Looking Out For Warning Signs And Symptoms

Your child may show some signs of bulimia nervosa or none at all. Most people keep the fact that they’re struggling with an eating disorder hidden, so observing and looking out for the following signs is very crucial:

 

  • Obsession with body image and weight
  • Unusual behavior around meals (eating in large quantities and feeling shameful after)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Hiding or hoarding food and groceries
  • Asking for money to buy binge food
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Excessive exercising

Clients with anorexia and bulimia who have pervasive psychological undercurrents motivating their behavior with food are negatively impacted by the billion dollar marketing efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

Your child may even suffer from symptoms of physical damage as a result of persistent binging and purging:

 

  • Menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
  • Poor bowel functioning
  • Hoarse and raspy voice condition
  • Mouth and throat sores
  • Teeth and gum damage
  • Scars on the knuckles, fingers, or hands (self-induced vomiting)

 

 

Seeking Treatment For Bulimia

The following treatments can be used to help your child:

 

Medicine

Antidepressants, from time-to-time, are used to decrease cycles of binge eating and purging as well as relieve anxiety and depression from the patient.

 

Counseling

Psychological counseling has two types: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). CBT pushes your child to change how he/she feels about body image and weight while IPT plays a significant role in teaching your child the impact of relationships and how those relationships and your child’s feelings towards them affect bingeing and purging.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Tips To Follow For Parents Of Bulimics

As parents, what tips should you keep in mind when helping your child? Some of these tips were taken online from the articles of Dr. Kim Dennis, a psychiatrist connected with Timberline Knolls:

 

Communication. Keeping lines of communication open for your child is essential. They need to be consoled knowing that it’s okay to talk about their struggles and feelings.

 

Be patient and calm. Keep your frustrations at bay. It is clear that your child’s issue is very concerning and worrying, but it is best to be able to take the problem head on without anything blinding the way.

 

Help your child admit and accept that they’re struggling. Parents play a significant role in shaping their children to be who they will be in the future. Give them a nudge, sit down and have a talk or a good cry. Help them admit it to themselves and learn that what they are doing is distorted and not suitable for themselves.

 

Expose your child to positive outlets. Keep those fashion magazines away. Remind your child to avoid peers who body shame or continuously talk about weight loss, and look up better meal planning and healthy eating lifestyle.

 

Fight their unpleasant feelings with them. Identify what your child is feeling. Help them dig deeper and realize that these are not positively influencing your child. Distance from negativity and evil thoughts but accept it instead of running away from it.

 

Offer support. Always remember how your child feels and remind him/her you care.

Suggest professional help. When you talk, coax your child into seeking for help. Tell them it’s entirely helpful, and diminish any negative stigma about therapy and counseling.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Remember that your teen is developing and transitioning to adulthood. Avoid giving insults and patronizing jabs, it may hurt them more than you think. Always set a good example and take care of yourself; it is no exaggeration when people say that a child is a reflection of their parents. Lastly, always know when to accept your limits. There’s only so much a parent can do for their child. It is essential to keep in mind that your child is the one who will make decisions and make those big leaps to growth and betterment.

Facts About Exercise Bulimia (Is My Partner Suffering From It?) Part 2

If you haven’t read the Part 1 of this article, then it is recommended that you do so first before reading this one. The first article is all about Exercise Bulimia, in general. This writeup discusses the risks of the suffering from the disorder, recovery suggestions, and relevant questions with answers about the issue.

Source: pixabay.com

The behaviors might get downplayed or even flat out denied by the person who is trying to sustain them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Exercise bulimia is not that hard to spot – excessive exercise, obsession with body image and body weight, constant checking of calories in food, losing weight drastically, erratic behavior – always wanting to work out, depression, and anxiety – these are just some of the signs. If you partner is displaying such symptoms, get help as soon as possible.

 

What Are The Risks Of Exercise Bulimia?

Source: roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov

Exercise bulimia, just like purging, poses life-threatening issues to the body. Below are some effects of the disorder:

 

Negative Impact On The Heart. Ideally, exercising should only last for a maximum of 50 minutes in a day. Pushing the limits will decrease the heart’s pumping ability. It will then lead to cardiovascular problems.

Because patients deny the severity of their condition they cannot accept the effects of malnutrition on heart, brain, organ and bone health. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Weakened Immune System. A hard workout can cause respiratory problems, and the treatment is prolonged since the body is stressed out.

 

Weakened Bones And Joints. People who exercise more than the recommended time is prone to getting bone fractures and torn joints.

 

Damage To Internal Organs. When the person is regularly stressed and restless, the toxins and free radicals that get inside the body can cause severe injuries to the organs.

 

Muscle Wear And Tear. Body ache is experienced due to strained tendons, ligaments, and muscles. If there is no rest state, the body can’t heal properly.

 

Vitamins And Mineral Deficiencies. Over-exercising depletes the nutrients and eventually causes complications.

 

Increased Food Cravings OrBinging. After every hard workout, the human body has this great urge to consume sugar. If this need is not met, it can lead to binge-eating.

 

What Steps Can I Take To Recover From Exercise Bulimia?

 

Get Professional Help. You can ask help from friends and family for support. There is a support group for people with exercise bulimia. You can find it online or within your community. It is also necessary to seek professional psychiatric help.

 

Practice Rest And Self-Care. Take care of yourself. Get into a healthy lifestyle and take adequate rest.

 

Manage Stress. Find other ways to manage your stress. There are numerous ways on how to do it like a spa day, reading a book, journaling, coffee time with your girls, and a lot more.

 

Ease Your Mind. Accept that at this point, over-exercising will do no good for you. From now on, you need to look at your purpose of being healthy from a positive angle.

 

Reduce the amount of time you spend working out. Lessen the time you spend exercising. Gradually do this until you are coping with the idea of liking your body image and loving yourself.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Do I Have To Stop Working Out Entirely To Recover?

 

If you want a full recovery from exercise bulimia, then you need to have a new and fresh outlook towards health and food. Exercising is part a person’s healthy lifestyle habits. You just have to do it accordingly without binge-eating and feeling guilty.

 

Will I Gain Weight If I Stop Exercising?

Source: pixabay.com

Gaining weight is a possibility since you will be eating more food and lessening your exercise hours. The body will have to readjust its function, and the metabolism will soon pick up. Just go on with your healthy lifestyle and don’t go overboard again with your exercise. In time, your healthy weight and body will emerge.

 

Is A Full Recovery Possible?

Yes, it is possible. The moment you accept your body image and do something positive about it, you can achieve full recovery. You just have to listen to others and submit yourself to treatment if you want to get better.

 

Exercise bulimia is manageable, but then you need to prepare yourself for the long and painful road. It takes dedication and discipline to get through this mental health condition.

Facts About Exercise Bulimia (Is My Partner Suffering From It?) Part 1

Source: pixabay.com

Jed thought that his wife was just determined to lose weight after their baby was born. She would only eat fruits and bread every day and was strict with her calorie counting. After that, his wife would perform a strenuous exercise routine. He didn’t mind it that much until he received a phone call at work. His wife died at the gym while she was working out and had cardiac arrest at age 34.

Sometimes the thinking by patients and family members is that if the effects of the illness are not overt, then how can a problem exist. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

What Jed didn’t know was that his wife suffered from a psychological problem called Exercise Bulimia. Exercise Bulimia is a form of physical workout performed by a person who wants to shed off unwanted body fats and calories in an extreme manner. This exercise is done in a very rigid way compared to regular healthy exercise. The effect of exercise bulimia on the human body is more on the negative side rather than the positive side.

 

This type of exercise is done by people with bulimia as a replacement for purging, but the effect is still the same. It can put people’s health and life in danger. The whole situation can become life-threatening when the person purges and uses exercise bulimia, just to get rid of unwanted body fat and calories.

 

What Is Exercise Bulimia?

Exercise bulimia is classified as a type of bulimia nervosa. It is a workout style that is driven by the intense desire to burn out calories at the soonest possible time. The person with the disorder tracks down his food intake and then calculates how to burn them off.

 

Instead of purging, the person uses this form of exercise to disable the food intake from turning into excess fats. It is mostly accompanied by anxiety, especially if food and body image issues are present. Clearly, a person who suffers from exercise bulimia also has other mental health disorders to manage.

When weight, body size and shape are seen as synonymous with love, acceptance, and self-worth, young people are vulnerable to the efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

The Difference Between Getting Fit Through Exercise And Over-Exercising

Source: pixabay.com

Getting fit and being obsessed with exercise lies on a very thin line. People work out several times a week to get healthy. Others are facing the risk of getting addicted to exercise coupled with bulimia and anxiety issues. On a worst-case scenario, some people would even do their workout routine if they are not feeling well just to meet their target. This action puts a person’s life at risk.

 

How Do I Know If I Have Exercise Bulimia?

Source: pixabay.com

Since working out is one of the two means to get healthy and fit, exercise bulimia is hardly recognized at first. It will only be diagnosed as such when the result of rigid exercising surfaces. However, it can still be uncovered with the following questions:

 

  • Do you intentionally skip events, functions and other essential meetings so that you could work out?
  • Do you feel guilty whenever you miss a workout session?
  • Has anybody told you that you are exercising too much?
  • Do you have a target number of calories to be burned whenever you are exercising?
  • Do you rigidly track down the food you eat?
  • Is being fit very important to you?
  • Do you believe that your self-worth will be defined by how much you weigh or look?
  • For female respondents, is the menstruation flow extraordinarily light or infrequent?
  • Do you often take measurements of yourself?

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

If you answered YES to at least five of the questions stated above, then you may be at risk of developing exercise bulimia. Now, if you responded YES to ALL THE QUESTIONS, then you have exercise bulimia, and you need immediate treatment.

 

There is a second part to this article which discusses the risks of exercise bulimia, how to recover from the same mental health disorder and other essential facts about it. It is in the hopes of the writer of this article that you’ve learned something about exercise bulimia by reading this short writeup. If you have a loved one who is exhibiting signs of exercise bulimia, then push for help and treatment immediately.

The Key Points Of Supporting Your Loved One With Bulimia

Source: thebluediamondgallery.com

Talking to your loved one with bulimia can be a challenge, but showing the person your support will slowly eliminate the fear, shame, and guilt. I remember my wife, Reena, back when we were in the university. She was still my girlfriend back then. As soon as I stepped in our dorm room, it smelled of rotten eggs and old noodles. I thought it was my laundry or food that I had left lying around for days. It was late when I realized that Reena was bulimic, and she had been binge-eating and purging for years without my knowledge.

The lack of seriousness taken by many patients regarding the medical sequeale of Anorexia and Bulimia, contributes to the inability to choose the best protocol for care and therefore increases the likelihood of treatment failure. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

We Feel Obligated To Help Our Loved One With Bulimia

I felt obligated to help her. She was my girlfriend, and I wanted her to get better. I wanted her to be healthy and happy. At first, she denied everything, even if I saw her puke jars hidden away. It was awful and truly disgusting. I wanted to slap her so she could make sense of herself, but also at the same time, I needed her to come clean and tell me how I can help her.

 

Without her approval, I went to an eating disorder specialist and told her of the issue. She said that I cannot force Reena to go into treatment for now. The specialist also mentioned that there are ways to talk to a person with bulimia to overcome the fear, shame, and guilt.

 

She also explained to me that it wouldn’t be easy, and at times I may have arguments and confrontations with my girlfriend. I said that I was ready for it, even if I was not, and yet I had to do it for Reena’s sake. The expert gave me tips on how to talk to her which I followed. Not long after I practiced these ways, my girlfriend was slowly trusting me and was letting me in again.

Source: flickr.com

Clients with anorexia and bulimia who have pervasive psychological undercurrents motivating their behavior with food are negatively impacted by the billion dollar marketing efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

How To Talk To Someone With Bulimia

During your conversation with your loved one, as much as possible, use the pronoun “I” to let her know that you are with her in this struggle. In this way, she will identify your support and eventually, the trust will follow.

 

“I want to help you.”

“I understand you.”

“I will always be here for you.”

“I love you.”

 

These were the words that came out of my mouth every time Reena purged. She would cry, and tell me that she doesn’t understand why she’s acting that way. All she knows is that she feels so bad about herself which makes her want to vomit after binge-eating.

 

It was too much for me at times. The whole situation can be overwhelming. With that, the eating disorder specialist told me that I need a support system. You can talk to a trusted friend or a family member. If your partner has a mental health issue, (bulimia is considered as one), it will be heavy for you. You also need to talk to others about the situation to sort out your thoughts. As for me, I turned to my mother. She inspired me to become Reena’s rock.

Source: pixabay.com

 

Be Prepared For Their Reaction.

Denial or refusal to get help is the most common reaction you’ll get from a person with bulimia the moment you extend help. Continue to offer it anyway and while doing so, follow up on your research about the condition and show your undying support. Convince her to get professional help. Through persistent talk, she will eventually give in.

 

However, if your partner is experiencing chest pains, dizziness, and blackouts and if you find blood in either vomit or stool, this needs immediate medical attention. Bring her to the hospital immediately.

 

Reena didn’t reach that point, thank God, but if I didn’t discover it, she would have worsened. After weeks of “pestering” her to see the eating disorder specialist, she finally gave in. It took my brave wife 26 months to heal from her mental health issue and recover from bulimia.

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

Never Ever Give Up.

Never give up. That’s my ultimate advice to those who are assisting their loved ones with eating disorders. Their lives are at stake here, and if you decide to meddle in their binge and purge cycle, arm yourself with unconditional love. You and your partner will need it.

What To Do When Your Spouse Has Bulimia

Source: pixabay.com

Bulimia is an eating disorder that is most common in women. But it can happen to anyone. Bulimia comes in with so many difficulties that it needs the support of your family, friends and mostly, your spouse. If your significant other has bulimia, then you have to get yourself educated with the said condition. In this way, you can help your partner deal with it and overcome the disorder.

With our eating disorder treatment centers currently full across the nation, one important word has been on our minds…PREVENTION. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

Continue reading

My Partner Has Bulimia, And She Needs My Support: 5 Ways To Assist Your Loved One With An Eating Disorder

Source: thebluediamondgallery.com

Overcoming bulimia is a painful journey. It is true for both the person with bulimia and her loved one. The trip is even more painful when the one with the eating disorder won’t cooperate with you. You’ll have to understand that the shame and guilt would fill them once they accept your help.

Clients with anorexia and bulimia who have pervasive psychological undercurrents motivating their behavior with food are negatively impacted by the billion dollar marketing efforts of the weight loss industry. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S 

Acknowledging that they need your assistance is like admitting that they have a mental health problem and that is very difficult to swallow. However, no matter what your loved one declares, you know that your loved one needs support. Bulimia is a killer, and you don’t want your spouse to die because of the said disorder.

 

With that said, below are some tips on how you can help your partner who is suffering the said disorder.

 

Use Positive Language About Food.

When you talk about food with your partner who has bulimia, stay on the positive side. Focus the topic on its benefits and how delicious food tastes. Never talk about how it could boost weight and the possible health conditions that it can bring if you overeat. Doing so will only arouse guilt in the person which will then intensify the disorder.

Source: pixabay.com

 

Get Professional Help.

If talking to your partner is not enough, then it is imperative to involve professional help. You can start by bringing your spouse to a small group of people with the same condition for talk therapy. Your loved one will then get insights into the disease and how to overcome it. You can also seek the service of a professional psychiatrist. This expert is trained to address the condition.

 

But first, you have to understand that this mental health issue is not deliberate on your loved one’s part. Your loved one is not intentionally causing this to happen. You have to be patient and understanding.

Relapse rates are high, and many are on board that this is because treatment approaches have not been guided by an understanding of the etiology of each specific eating disorder. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Learn More About The Disorder.

The best way you can help your partner is by first educating yourself about the disorder. You can do research, talk to people who experienced the said condition or consult with a professional trained to assist those with bulimia. Being equipped with knowledge of the disorder will make you strong enough to help your partner face the condition head-on.

Source: wikimedia.org

Shower Your Spouse With Love.

More than anything else, your partner needs you the most right now. She may not say it, but you know she needs you. Being judgmental and getting into the blame game won’t help at all. People with bulimia are dominated by shame, guilt, and insecurities. Instead of infusing more negativity to her, shower your spouse with positivity instead. Show your spouse how you love her. You can also do fun things together. It will not only keep her mind off the disorder, but it will help tighten the relationship bond as well.

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

Start A Meaningful Conversation.

Most people find it hard talking about the disorder, but denying this kind of talk won’t help either. Talking to your loved one openly is a big help in solving some sensitive issues. You should do it with extra precaution, though. Do it with love, kindness, support, and gentleness.

 

Bulimia is a psychological disorder. It is more on the mind and the person’s emotions. Your presence, your encouragement and your willingness to be by your partner’s side as she goes through the process is the best weapon you have in overcoming the eating disorder.

Medical Issues Due To Anorexia, Bulimia And Binge-Eating (Watch Out For Your Loved Ones)

Source: flickr.com

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating are just some of the eating disorders identified at this time. Each type has their unique symptoms, but all these mental health disorders can lead to a person’s life-threatening state and fatality. It is essential that once these illnesses are detected, help should be extended immediately. It is necessary to avoid further complications that might turn into one’s bitter end, especially if the person affected is your loved one, your spouse or partner.

The same advertisements that target “healthy” behaviors can trigger life threatening “unhealthy” behaviors in others, especially in the teenagers who struggle to fit in with their peers. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

Medical Issues Arising From Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a person who is eating a tiny amount of food or getting into backbreaking physical work out even if there’s no food in their system. The purpose of doing such action is to prevent the body from accumulating fats. The person denies her own body from getting the nutrients she needs to keep it nourished. Doing this can lead to nutritional deficits and possible physical body breakdowns.

 

To be more specific, anorexia nervosa will restrict the body from getting the ideal calorie count it needs which then slows down the body functions. Heart rhythm irregularities and low blood pressure may take place which will then lead to heart failure. A woman’s menstruation would stop as the body will experience endocrine system changes. Aside from cardiovascular problems, the said disorder can also cause bone and kidney problems, as these organs and the systems were deprived of the ideal nutrients.

Source: flickr.com

The neurotransmitter dopamine enables us to stop eating and resist the urge to eat a second helping of dessert and conversely Dopamine triggers when to eat when we are indeed hungry. Dopamine function is altered for patients with Bulimia and Anorexia.  — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Bulimia Also Causes Medical Issues

Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia eat more than their usual consumption. Then after that, they would vomit everything they just ate. This is called the “binge and purge cycle” which may occur several days in a week for minor cases. In others with severe bulimia, the cycle happens several times in a day. As a result, these individuals become uncharacteristically underweight, but there are cases wherein they can be overweight. But despite the weight issue, bulimia can cause life-threatening conditions for anyone.

 

Due to the vomiting, some people get tooth decay and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), among other related disorders. These add problems to the body and the original health issue which is bulimia.

Source: flickr.com

 

Complications That Arise From Binge-Eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder is the condition wherein the patient consumes food more than usual, but not purge the meal afterward. People with the said disorder can become obese, and as a result, there are complications like heart disease, high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol count, type 2 diabetes and conditions related to the gallbladder.

Combining psychotherapy with nutritional therapies and yoga provides an integrative approach to efficacy and empowers our clients in their recovery process. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

Medical Issues Related To Co-Existing Psychiatric Disorders Like Depression, Anxiety, And OCD

The said diseases are found to be correlated with psychiatric disorders like anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. These conditions can be mild or severe. Studies also revealed that eating disorders are at times associated with substance and alcohol abuse. For people with eating disorders and at the same time substance abuse, infected pathogens can arise and risky behaviors are manifested as well.

 

Eating disorders are a huge concern, and this issue will further deepen once it is taken for granted. That is why it is best to face the problem head-on while it is still in its early stages so that it can quickly be eliminated in no time. If you suspect that your loved one has anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder, then you have to act fast. You need to do whatever it takes for your loved one to be checked in a hospital for vital signs and more. Therapy with an eating disorder specialist is also a requirement for immediate treatment.

Assisting A Loved One Through Treatment For Bulimia

 

 

Source: fairwindstreatment.com

The person restricting calories, bingeing, purging, or excessively exercising may become anxious about getting caught or irritable when accusing a loved one of being unfairly suspicious or “controlling.” — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

When you find out that a loved one is suffering from bulimia it can be confronting and overwhelming. When this occurs, you will likely feel a strong urge to do anything that you can to support them. Supporting someone through treatment for an eating disorder can be taxing on yourself and will certainly take some effort on your part. However, if you are able to provide this support and understanding to them it might be that extra help they need to conquer the bulimia.

Having the conversation:

Source: anthonyjyeung.com

It can be very difficult to know where to start when supporting a loved one through bulimia, but having a conversation about your concerns is a good place.

  1. Research – Come to the conversation prepared, with a good understanding of what bulimia is and how it works. It is not simply just unusual eating behaviors based on body image issues and may often have a lot of emotions tied up with it. These can include strong feelings of shame, anxiety, embarrassment, guilt and even denial. Keep these in mind when approaching the conversation.

 

  1. Location – Choose a time and place where you can have a conversation in private and one where you are unlikely to be interrupted. Avoid places where there is a focus on food and try to choose somewhere that you know they will feel comfortable.

Because patients deny the severity of their condition they cannot accept the effects of malnutrition on heart, brain, organ and bone health. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS  

  1. Express your concerns – Keep in mind that they may not feel as though they have an eating problem or they might be very embarrassed by it. Try and approach it in a caring and non-judgmental manner. Be careful not to put any blame on them or criticize them as they may already be feeling embarrassed. This will only make them more defensive and unlikely to listen to you. Head on over to our other article (how to talk about bulimia) for some guidance around the type of language to use when having a conversation about bulimia.

 

  1. Encourage – Let them know that you are there to help support them in any way that you can. However, it is also important to encourage them to seek professional support (medical and psychological). You can certainly provide them support alongside their therapist, but this is not a battle that can likely be fought without therapy. Not only this but due to the severe medical concerns that can occur due to bulimia, it is important to get a doctor involved.

  

Model Good Habits:

Try and set a good example for your friend or loved one by focusing on healthy eating and balanced meals opposed to dieting or restricting food. Watch how you talk about appearance and body size, and avoid being self-critical and critical towards others.

Try and Boost Self-esteem:

Source: finerminds.com

Focus on the personality strengths that make your friend or loved one the wonderful person they are. Give them encouragement around these and emphasize these to them in conversation. This obviously has to be subtle. For example, if they expressed concern about their weight, you wouldn’t simply reply “but you’re a really nice person” as they will likely take this as a way to confirm their insecurity. Rather, find ways and examples to praise them on their strengths.

Balancing serotonin levels with nutrition is central to managing the range of symptoms that occur along the eating disorders continuum. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

Watch out for Triggers:

These could include talking about food, weight, eating, dieting and making judgmental comments about your or anyone else’s bodies. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid eating in front of them (actually this would make things worse). Just try not to have entire conversations centered around food.

Watch out for You:

Supporting a friend or loved one through bulimia can be a very taxing process. It is important to make sure you take the time to look after yourself as well. Keep up your own support networks and take time away for you to relax and recharge as you won’t be any help if you are also very stressed or anxious.

For further information on supporting a loved one through bulimia, please see the links below.

Resources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/eating-disorders/helping-someone-with-an-eating-disorder.htm

http://www.nedc.com.au/what-to-say-and-do

How to Find Help Treating an Eating Disorder

http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/how-do-you-help-someone-bulimia