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Bulimia Nervosa

We offer comprehensive treatment for those living with bulimia.

It can be difficult to convince sufferers of bulimia that they need help. We’re often contacted by family members seeking treatment for a loved one, rather than people with bulimia, and that’s why fast, intensive treatment is so important. Staying at Asana Lodge allows you to skip NHS waiting lists and self-refer, offering a better chance of success.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia, also known as bulimia nervosa, is an eating disorder characterised by recurring episodes of binge eating followed by behaviours aimed at compensating for the excess calories consumed. These compensatory behaviours are often damaging to their health and commonly include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics, excessive exercise, or periods of fasting.

Individuals with bulimia often experience a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight. They may feel a lack of control during binge episodes, consuming large quantities of food in a short period, even when not physically hungry. Following a binge, feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust may lead to the initiation of compensatory behaviours.

Fortunately, bulimia is a treatable condition, and seeking professional help is crucial for recovery. Comprehensive treatment for bulimia often involves a combination of therapies, including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), nutritional counselling, and medication management, if necessary. Supportive environments like residential treatment centres, such as Asana Lodge, can provide a structured and therapeutic setting to facilitate healing and address the underlying issues contributing to the disorder.


Treatment For Bulimia

Our aim is to cultivate an environment of peace, respect and compassion, understanding that each person’s experience with this eating disorder is unique. We are steadfast in our belief that personalised treatment plans, created with individual needs, experiences and circumstances in mind, are most effective in encouraging healing.

Our team of highly trained professionals offers extensive experience in treating not only eating disorders such as bulimia, but also co-occurring mental health conditions and addictions that often accompany this eating disorder. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to treat the person as a whole, rather than just focusing on the symptoms of the disorder.

We recognise that individuals suffering from bulimia often feel caught in a vicious cycle of bingeing and purging, with detrimental impacts on their mental health and self-esteem. The fear, guilt, and anxiety that perpetuate this cycle may exacerbate if left untreated.

To combat these negative thoughts and emotions, we often utilise Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. This therapeutic approach helps patients understand how their thoughts and feelings influence their behaviours, enabling them to break the destructive cycle of bulimia.

Our comprehensive treatment plans often encompass individual, group, and family therapy. This multi-faceted approach helps clients identify and understand the root causes of their eating disorder, their triggers for bingeing and purging, and strategies to overcome these compulsions. Each form of therapy offers a unique perspective, allowing clients to gain insights from different angles and contexts.

In conjunction with these therapy treatments, we understand the importance of providing a safe space to nurture the development of healthier eating habits. It is common for those with bulimia to have a distorted relationship with food. Therefore, our on-site culinary team prepares suitable, nourishing meals, and we provide additional support, such as supervised meals, if necessary.

For those struggling with particular challenges related to food, we offer specific food exposure therapy, as well as body image workshops. These programmes aim to transform the way individuals perceive their bodies and their relationship with food, promoting a healthier outlook.


Spotting The Signs Of Bulimia Nervosa

Those living with bulimia nervosa often become overly secretive, sometimes going to great lengths to conceal their cycle of binge eating and purging.

Some of the signs and symptoms of bulimia are listed below. However, please note that this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, as every person will often have varying experiences with bulimia.

  • Eating excessive amounts of food and then purging by vomiting or taking laxatives.
  • Being obsessive over food and calories.
  • Withdrawing from loved ones.
  • An excessive obsession with exercise.
  • Going to the toilet after meals.
  • Wearing baggy clothing to hide their body.
  • Strong feelings of guilt after bingeing.
  • Weight and body fluctuations.
  • Significant weight loss or gain in a short space of time.
  • Constantly weighing and monitoring their body.
  • Struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, shame and general poor mental health.
  • Anger or personality changes.

There’s a misconception that only those who are underweight have an eating disorder. While purging can sometimes cause weight loss, some sufferers of bulimia don’t change body shape, but internal damage can still be done. Those with bulimia don’t necessarily vomit or use laxatives, either. Some use compensatory behaviours such as excessive exercise to make up for binges, which can be more difficult to notice.

Effects Of Bulimia

The cycle of binge eating and purging can put a large strain on individuals, which is why it’s important to seek bulimia nervosa treatment as soon as possible.

Bulimia can have severe physical and emotional consequences. Frequent vomiting can cause damage to the oesophagus and teeth enamel due to exposure to stomach acids. The misuse of laxatives and diuretics may disrupt the body’s natural balance, leading to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and potential organ damage. Moreover, excessive exercise can strain the body and increase the risk of injury. Additionally, the emotional toll of bulimia can be overwhelming.

Bulimia nervosa distorts the individual’s perception of their own body image, often causing them to perceive themselves as overweight even when they are underweight. This distorted body image can trigger a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and panic disorders.

Depression often emerges from feelings of despair and hopelessness, which are frequently experienced by individuals struggling with bulimia. Their relentless pursuit of a perceived ideal body can leave them feeling defeated and depressed when they perceive that they can’t meet their own standards.

Anxiety and panic attacks, on the other hand, can arise from the constant fear and worry about gaining weight, the stress of maintaining secretive binge-purge behaviours, and the overwhelming concern about being discovered.

Additionally, individuals with bulimia often experience deep feelings of shame. This shame stems from their binge-eating episodes and their subsequent actions to prevent weight gain, which are often kept a secret due to fear of societal judgment. The constant struggle to hide these behaviours can lead to feelings of isolation and a crippling sense of guilt.

It’s also important to note that individuals suffering from bulimia face a significantly higher risk of attempting suicide. This increased risk can be attributed to the unbearable emotional pain, feelings of worthlessness, and hopelessness associated with this eating disorder. Many sufferers may view suicide as the only way to escape their emotional torment.

This is why getting people who are suffering from bulimia into treatment is of utmost importance. Comprehensive and timely treatment can help to address both the physical symptoms and the mental health issues related to bulimia.

Intervention and treatment not only help to rectify the harmful eating patterns but also provide crucial psychological support to manage co-occurring mental health disorders, ultimately reducing the risk of suicide. Thus, the need for empathy, understanding, and action cannot be overstated when it comes to addressing bulimia nervosa.

Treatment At Asana Lodge

There are many reasons why Asana Lodge is such a great place to undergo bulimia nervosa treatment. Our location in Towcester, Northamptonshire, is close to the countryside, offering a calm, peaceful, and private place to recover. We’ve worked hard to create a luxurious yet homely environment, so it doesn’t have the cold, clinical feel of a hospital. There are private rooms available, but our guests are closely monitored to help prevent a relapse.

While you stay at Asana Lodge, we take care of your physical and mental health. Aside from your personalised treatment programmes, there is also access to a host of holistic activities, which can help you learn how to look after your mind and body over the long term. You can choose a support group to attend with other residents, which will allow you to feel supported on your journey, and there are lots of workshops and other helpful activities to try.

Sufferers of bulimia often have a dual diagnosis, which means they also suffer from an addiction or mental health condition. Our team are well versed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which allows them to diagnose additional conditions and find suitable treatments, whether it’s different types of therapy, detoxes, or prescription medication.

Aftercare For Eating Disorders

While eating disorders such as bulimia are treatable and can be overcome, it can often take a long time to get into good habits and learn to manage the urge to binge and purge. That’s why we offer a secondary treatment programme. Aftercare will often include ongoing therapy or attending local groups, so you don’t have to feel alone. The first few months after leaving treatment are often when the risk of a relapse is at its highest, so attending aftercare is the best way to ensure success in the long term.

To find out more about Asana Lodge and the eating disorder treatment programmes we offer, simply call us on 01908 489 421 or e-mail for advice and support.

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