Depending on the severity of the bulimia, different types of therapy may be necessary: in severe cases, in-patient therapy, but in any case psychotherapy. Because the eating-vomiting addiction is mostly based on psychological problems.
Therapy should combat the causes of bulimia in the long term, so psychotherapy and behavioral therapy is important. The attending physician should find out where the specific trigger for the eating-vomiting addiction lies and treat the weight phobia and the body schema disorder, i.e. the distorted perception of one’s own body.
Psychotherapy: fighting the causes
Affected people feel too fat even though they are not. This false self-perception is based on psychological illnesses – through social ideals of slimness or pressure from family or friends to perform, they develop a bad self-esteem. In therapy, the patients should also learn to deal with stress better so as not to develop pathological eating behavior in such situations. Bulimic sufferers have to learn to regain a healthy relationship with food. In their medical history they have created a consciousness in which they view food intake as something bad that they can compensate for by other actions – starvation or laxatives for example. They have to resolve this relationship and learn to eat well-balanced food without a guilty conscience.
Inpatient treatment of bulimia
In severe cases of bulimia, inpatient therapy may be necessary. The reasons for this can either be physical effects of the Ess-Brecht addiction, such as severe disturbances in the electrolyte balance due to constant vomiting. But also in the case of extreme psychological side effects such as a pronounced urge to self-harm up to suicide risk or drug abuse, inpatient treatment can be useful.