People with Bulimia, like those with Anorexia, do not see their bodies
realistically. They see themselves in as no matter what the true reflection is. To attain thinness a Bulimic will allow themselves to eat, but then, feel very guilty. As a result of this guilt they will force themselves to throw up, exercise excessively, fast, and often abuse laxatives. This cycle is called binging and purging. A person with Bulimia may range in wieght from slightly underwieght to normal to slightly overweight. This may make it hard
to recognize the disorder. Bulimia, like Anorexia , is unhealthy and dangerous because of malnutrition and dehydration.
People suffering from Anorexia want very much to be thin. To attain this,
they simply stop eating and starve themselves. Regardless of their actual
weight, patients with Anorexia will continue to starve themselves even as
they are becoming dangerously thin. Eating so little can cause serious health
problems, malnutrion, and sadly even death.
People with this eating disorder, like the Bulimic will binge. The difference is
the compulsive over eater will not purge, although they may feel guilty or
diet often. Compulsive over eaters, may range from normal to overweight.
Their health may suffer from poor nutrition and diet habits.
Group therapy is not only an appropriate modality, but often a chosen modality for its cost-savings as well as its powerful effects. In groups specifically devoted to issues of eating disorders, a patient can gain not only support for the gradual gains they
accomplish, but also be confronted on issues more easily than in individual therapy.
Children and adolescents can also suffer from this disorder. Treatment for this
population needs to emphasize and increase the positive reinforcements granted for
each incremental weight gain. These should occur on a daily basis and different
rewards should be given for different increments gained (e.g., a reward for 1/4 lb.
should be different than a reward for a 1/2 lb.). By focusing on weight increase and not
food intake, this technique will likely minimize distracting and useless arguments.
Hospitalization of anybody for a mental disorder can often be a confusing and
emotion-wrought decision. Family members or significant others may need to intervene
in the patient’s life to ensure they do not starve themselves to death. In these cases,
hospitalization is not only necessary, but a prudent treatment intervention. Family
members should be aware that individuals who suffer from anorexia nervosa will often
resist treatment of any sort, especially hospitalization. It is important, therefore, to
come to an agreement about the need for such a step and not be swayed by the
patient’s pleas for seeking alternative treatment options. Often these have already been
tried to no success.
Some medications can be extremely helpful in treatment a person who suffers from
anorexia nervosa. As always, the medication should be carefully monitored, especially
since the patient may be vomiting, which may impact on the medication’s effectiveness.
A trusting and honest relationship must be established between the physician and the
individual or mediation compliance will almost certainly become an issue.
Antidepressants (such as amitriptyline) are the usual drug treatment and may speed up the recovery process. Chlorpromazine may be beneficial for those individuals suffering from severe obsessions and increased anxiety and agitation.
Eating disorders are horrible things which affect out society. I have learned what they are, how they are caused and some treatments for them. I know what signs to look for in a person with eating disorders, because I may encouter someone with anorexia or bulimia.