Bulimia is a serious mental health disorder that can cause severe complications like death if not treated immediately. Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder that allows the person to undergo binge and purging episodes in controlling their weight. What causes a person to have bulimia is sometimes linked to the social pressure of thin-is-in principles. Other factors include dysfunctional family dynamics, childhood trauma or abuse, and environmental stress.
Someone who is struggling with an eating disorder may attempt to eat “normally” in the presence of others, and then look for opportunities to be alone to find ways to binge or purge. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
The problem is rooted on poor self-esteem and body image disturbance. Most common in women from teenagers to younger adults, this condition can also affect men in the same age range.
There are varying reports when it comes to the prognosis of bulimia nervosa. An epidemiological report in the UK states that 80% of people with bulimia make a complete recovery with treatment, while a report published in the US showed 45% to 75% full recovery. Either way, these are good reports. For those who do not seek treatment, the mortality rate is at 0.32% to 3.9%.
Types of therapy and treatment goals
Studies showed that successful treatment can be achieved if the person is willing to commit to recovery. Depending on the severity of the condition, the person can be treated as an in-patient or out-patient basis. Those who need urgent medical attention because of the medical complications of bulimia, they need hospitalization first to treat and manage the apparent symptoms such as electrolyte replacement or response to internal bleeding. After they get discharged, it is highly advised that they continue treatment, this time to help treat the underlying cause which is bulimia nervosa.
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
Treatment goals for bulimia nervosa will include:
- To become medically stable and prevent further complications from developing
- To learn healthy eating habits and value food as a nourishing element and not as a reward or punishment
- To build a strong sense of self-worth, develop a positive self-esteem and acceptance of positive body image.
- To treat co-occurring psychiatric conditions or substance use disorders
- To lay the foundation for a satisfying, fulfilling future
The inpatient treatment will require 30 to 90 days depending on the response of the patient to the therapies and treatment procedures. Chronic cases sometimes can reach up to six months of inpatient admission. The patient will receive services for medical care, housing, planned and therapeutic meals, staffing and adjunct therapies. If the patient is evaluated to have mild or moderate symptoms related to bulimia, the mental state could still be at its initial stage and can be managed on an out-patient basis. The patient will have several psychotherapy sessions and medications to complete the treatment protocol.
How much therapy costs
Inpatient treatment can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000 a day, and the average cost for a 30-day stay in a treatment facility is $30,000. Outpatient care, including medical monitoring and continuing therapy, can reach upwards of $100,000. insurance coverage is available as long as it is medically necessary. Your medical provider can provide the needed requirements to the insurance companies to have this approved.
The eating disorders in general are linked to dissociation and alternate states of consciousness achieved through food types and binging/fasting/purging activities. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP
Treatment costs can be a lot. However, it is critical to help the person recover and live a normal life. Costs still would depend on some factors like location and the accreditation of the therapist and the facility. You can ask for payment options as some medical facilities have their own offers and programs that provide special payment arrangements.