Bulimia nervosa; Binge-purge behavior; Eating disorder - bulimia
People with bulimia rarely have to go to the hospital, unless:
Most often, a stepped approach is used for patients with bulimia. The treatment approach depends on how severe the bulimia is, and the person's response to treatments:
Patients may drop out of programs if they have unrealistic hopes of being "cured" by therapy alone. Before a program begins, the following should be made clear:
Self-help groups like Overeaters Anonymous may help some people with bulimia. The American Anorexia/Bulimia Association is a source of information about this disorder.
Bulimia is a long-term illness. Many people will still have some symptoms, even with treatment.
People with fewer medical complications of bulimia, and those who are willing and able to take part in therapy have a better chance of recovery.
Bulimia can be dangerous. It may lead to serious medical complications over time. For example, vomiting over and over again puts stomach acid in the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach), which can permanently damage this area.
Possible complications include:
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you (or your child) have symptoms of an eating disorder.
American Psychiatric Association. Treatment of patients with eating disorders, 3rd ed. American Psychiatric Association. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jul;163(7 Suppl):4-54.
Hall MN, Friedman RJ 2nd, Leach L. Treatment of bulimia nervosa. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Jun 1;77(11):1588, 1592.
Sim LA, McAlpine DE, Grothe KB, Himes SM, Cockerill RG, Clark MM. Identification and treatment of eating disorders in the primary care setting. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010;85(8):746-751.
Treasure J, Claudino AM, Zucker N. Eating disorders. Lancet. 2010;375(9714):583-593.
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