Therapy and one on one counseling are recommended non-medicated treatment for bulimia. Only in severe cases and with a patient’s non-response to the initial treatments is hospitalization necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapeutic methods are the most widely used of all treatments for bulimia.
This is often the preferred first treatment as studies have shown that this treatment is successful in more than half of the cases. Nutritional counseling is an integral part of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and it provides a framework to help patients cope differently and avoid potential relapses.
Interpersonal therapy treatment
You can also try interpersonal therapy treatment. This type of therapy deals with the emotional aspects like depression that influenced the eating disorder. If the patient’s bulimia is in the early stages, and their health has not been severely compromised, it is helpful for support group therapy.
Lastly, family therapy is also recommended as psychological treatment. Positive results have been reported when this method was used, as opposed to interpersonal therapy, since the family, a vital support factor, is supported and utilized also.
Treatment with drugs
Treatment of bulimia with drugs is given to patients who have exhibited signs of depression. It is advised by the experts, though, that CBT, a psychological therapy, is done in combination with drugs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors compose antidepressants.
There are different pharmaceutical substances provided to patients to help with issues like vomiting. Studies have shown that antiepileptic medications decrease the number of bingeing and purging episodes, so sometimes these are prescribed. Bulimic patients are benefited by B vitamin drugs initially prescribed for depression and bipolar disorder.
Different treatments for bulimia have been investigated as well. But more studies should be done, and the results of these treatments need to be proven with a more significant number of people. Hypnosis, light therapy, guided imagery, and acupuncture are some of these new treatments.
Hypnosis has been proven to work with patients who have bulimia. However, patients that have anorexia do not respond as well to this therapy. If a person is affected by both seasonal affective disorder and bulimia, then light therapy will be applied.
However, the effectiveness of its use is more directed in the relief of depression rather than on correcting the binge-purge behavior of bulimic patients. In contrast, research has shown that guided imagery causes a nearly 75% reduction in binging and purging. With this treatment, tapes filled with evocative imagery to facilitate the attainment of treatment objectives are listened to by patients.
In acupuncture, points in the stomach are selected so that the qi is balanced, and proper circulation of oxygen and blood is maintained. This treatment works on the premise that energy imbalances in the body cause eating disorders. The treatment claims to release endorphins, aid in reducing stress, and strengthen the body’s endocrine and digestive systems.