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What is Involved in Bulimia Recovery?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated May 17, 2024
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The first and most important step in bulimia recovery is acknowledging the disorder. Most bulimics see their behavior as a means of self-improvement, and won't think anything is wrong. Once the patient realizes that bulimia can cause significant damage to herself and the people around her, she can move on to the other steps toward recovery. Psychological counseling can help the patient get over the underlying issues that led to the disorder, while nutritionists can assist her in developing healthier eating habits. Throughout the course of bulimia recovery, the patient should find a support group to help herself cope.

Bulimia is characterized as both an anxiety disorder and an eating disorder. More often than not, anxiety regarding one's body image leads a person into drastic measures of achieving and maintaining a skewed ideal figure. In bulimia, this causes the individual to binge on food, then ritualistically purge herself shortly afterward. Purging typically involves self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives and diuretics in order to remove food from the patient's system, which is a powerful source of guilt for the bulimic. This results in severe weight loss and other health problems.

The weight loss is perceived as a reward by the bulimic, making the disorder a self-sustaining and cyclical problem. This makes it incredibly difficult to begin bulimia recovery, as the patient fails to recognize her behavior as a disorder. Bulimia intervention by peers and loved ones is often necessary to make the patient acknowledge her problem. In many cases, bulimics can be resistant to the intervention and remain in denial, delaying bulimia recovery.

If the intervention is successful, the patient can begin to seek professional help. Checking into an eating disorder clinic can be helpful, as bulimia treatment centers are equipped with everything the patient needs to eliminate the disorder. The key point in bulimia recovery is therapy, which will help the patient resolve the body image issues that led to bulimia. A nutritionist can then help the patient mold her diet into a healthier one. Rebuilding a healthy diet can be a long and arduous process, but it is necessary to show the patient the benefits of eating well.

Between the counseling and rehabilitation, bulimics should find emotional support from other patients. A sense of acceptance is crucial for bulimia recovery, and so support groups. Care from friends and family will also go a long way towards helping the patient.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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