Bulimia Treatment at Montare


Eating disorders are types of mental illnesses. Thus, as a mental health treatment center, we here at Montare Behavioral Health treat people for a number of different eating disorders. One of the eating disorders that we treat here at Montare is bulimia nervosa. Individuals who develop bulimia must put themselves through rigorous mental health treatment and therapy to get better. Learn more about bulimia treatment and how it can help people achieve bulimia recovery here. 

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by first binge eating large amounts of food. People with bulimia then purge their food through an unhealthy method. They do this to rid the body of any possible calories or weight that such food can cause the body to gain. When people who suffer from bulimia nervosa purge their bodies of the food they previously binged ate, they often do so by forcing themselves to vomit it back up. Other unhealthy methods by which people with bulimia may purge their bodies of food include misusing laxatives, weight-loss supplements, diuretics, or enemas, fasting or dieting at extreme levels, or excessively exercising.  

Bulimia vs. Anorexia

Although both are well-known eating disorders, bulimia does differ from anorexia. As mentioned earlier, people that suffer from bulimia will binge eat and then later unhealthily purge their bodies of food to avoid gaining weight. People that suffer from anorexia, on the other hand, will excessively limit their food intake while also possibly excessively exercising to prevent themselves from gaining weight.

Causes of Bulimia

The exact reason why people develop bulimia nervosa is unknown. There are many risk factors that could play a role in the development of bulimia, though. For example, being female increases the chance that a person may develop an eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa one day. This is because females suffer from eating disorders at much higher rates than males do.  Society is more critical of the size and appearance of the female body than it is the male body. Thus, females suffer from eating disorders at higher rates than males do. It’s important to still acknowledge, though, that men are still capable of developing eating disorders such as bulimia.  If a person comes from a family in which someone has previously suffered from an eating disorder, that person is also more likely to develop bulimia nervosa. In fact, if any mental illness runs in a person’s family, that person is more likely to develop an eating disorder such as bulimia one day.  Psychological and emotional distress of any kind directly correlates to the development of eating disorders such as bulimia. Therefore, anyone that’s struggling with any sort of mental illness or psychological or emotional distress is at a heightened risk of becoming bulimic.  Trauma and environmental stresses can also trigger the development of bulimia in individuals. Even just frequent dieting for general weight loss purposes can cause individuals to take on unhealthy behavior patterns. Such behavior patterns can cause individuals to eventually become bulimic. Regardless of what triggered the development of the eating disorder, once a person becomes bulimic, he or she needs to achieve bulimia recovery by receiving bulimia treatment. 

Signs of Bulimia

There are many warning signs of bulimia. For example, one warning sign of bulimia is binge eating, which is the first step in bulimia. Therefore, large amounts of food always seem to suddenly disappear around a bulimic person. Food disappearing around someone that possibly suffers from bulimia could also be because that person is hoarding that food elsewhere. 

Continuous Bathroom Trips

The second step in bulimia is purging food out of one’s body that’s unhealthy. People that purge their food intake often make numerous trips to the bathroom after eating. 

Obsession With One’s Own Weight

A person who is always concerned about his or her weight but also is always eating large meals and having laxatives or diuretics on hand may be suffering from bulimia. People that suffer from bulimia may also start to always have mouth wash, chewing gum, or other things on hand that can hide the smell of vomit in their mouths. 

Calluses and Cuts on Top of Fingers

People that force themselves to vomit often do so by putting their fingers down their throats. As a result, such people often develop calluses or cuts on the top of their fingers. Therefore, having cuts or calluses on the top of one’s fingers is a warning sign of bulimia. 

Dry and Brittle Hair, Skin, and Nails

Because forcing one’s fingers down one’s throat to force vomiting can also cause one’s skin and nails to dry up, having dry skin on one’s hands and dry, brittle nails are also possible warning signs of bulimia. Many men and women that force themselves to purge their food intake by vomiting may even start having stained or discolored teeth, along with more cavities. 

Irregular Menstrual Cycle

A woman’s bulimia can unknowingly get so bad that she starts to no longer get her menstrual cycle regularly. Therefore, if a woman who already exhibits other signs of having an eating disorder also no longer regularly receives her menstrual cycle, it could be a sign of bulimia. 

Always Exercising After a Large Meal

There are many strange, but regular behavior patterns that are also possible warning signs of bulimia. For example, one regular behavior pattern that could be a sign of bulimia is always exercising soon after eating a large meal. 

Hiding One’s Body and Eating Habits from Others

Hiding one’s eating habits altogether from others is also a possible warning sign of bulimia. Another possible warning sign of bulimia is hiding one’s body from others by wearing baggy clothes. 

Symptoms of Bulimia

Bloating and Weight Gain

Just as there are many signs of bulimia, there are also many symptoms of bulimia. For one, unlike other eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia often causes people to gain weight. Either that or stay at a normal weight range for themselves. This is because people that suffer from bulimia binge eat and then purge themselves of food unhealthily. This is different from anorexics that just limit or drastically minimize their food intake. Thus, people that suffer from bulimia often retain water in their bodies and become more bloated. 

Poor Mental Health

Bulimia also often increases the severity of one’s depression and anxiety. Thus, suffering from higher levels of depression and anxiety is a symptom of bulimia. Being obsessed with one’s body and weight is another obvious and common symptom of bulimia, along with forcing oneself to vomit or excessively exercise after binge eating. 

Mood Swings

Another common symptom of bulimia is mood swings. This is because obsessing with one’s weight and body in such unhealthy ways can get to some people and cause them to emotionally act out. 

Using Laxatives and Diuretics After Binge Eating

Just as having brittle and dry skin and nails and calluses and cuts on one’s fingers are warning signs of bulimia, they are also symptoms of bulimia. Other signs of bulimia that are also symptoms of bulimia are the constant use of laxatives and diuretics after binge eating and the possible loss of one’s menstrual cycle. People that suffer from bulimia also often develop dry, thin hair and an impaired immune system. 

Sleep and Dental Issues, Muscle Weakness, Yellow Skin, Sore Throat, Heartburn, and  Indigestion

Additional symptoms of bulimia include sleep issues, dental issues, muscle weakness, yellow skin, inflamed or sore throats, heartburn, and indigestion. Swollen glands around the neck and face and dizziness are also common symptoms of bulimia.  If you find that you or anyone that you know is exhibiting multiple signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa, then you or your loved one should try to achieve bulimia recovery by receiving bulimia treatment, 

Possible Complications Caused by Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder. It can cause people long-lasting health complications. Some of the health complications that people can develop due to bulimia nervosa are:

  • Dehydration
  • Irregular heartbeat and heart failure
  • Severe tooth decay and gum disease
  • Absent or irregular menstrual cycles
  • Digestive issues
  • Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or bipolar disorder, and OCD
  • Feeling the need to self-harm oneself
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide
  • Stomach rupture
  • Loss of vital minerals and electrolytes
  • Inflamed esophagus
  • Swollen glands near cheeks
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Kidney health problems
  • Lower sex drive
  • Impulsivity

How is Bulimia Nervosa Diagnosed?

To diagnose an individual with bulimia nervosa, a doctor will first ask that person questions about his or her eating habits, weight loss methods, and physical symptoms. If the answers that the patient provides to the doctor’s questions make it sound like the patient could be suffering from bulimia, the doctor will then perform a physical exam on the patient. The technical criteria for bulimia are in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM -5).  The doctor at hand will likely even ask the patient to take some blood and urine tests along with an electrocardiogram, or physical exam that tests to see if the patient’s heart is experiencing issues. Psychological exams will also be issued at that time as well. Once individuals are diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, they must attend bulimia treatment to achieve bulimia recovery. 

How to Prevent Bulimia Nervosa?

One way to help prevent people from developing bulimia nervosa is to teach them positive messages about food and their bodies. One can teach such messages by making eating meals a positive time in general. For example, families can eat meals together.  Another way to teach people positive messages about food and their bodies is to lead by example. By this, we mean not talking negatively about one’s own body around others, in particular, young children and teens.  Parents of children and teens should also make sure to not partake in extreme or fad dieting techniques around their kids. Instead, parents should eat healthily, in general, and encourage their children to do the same. That way, the children of such parents will grow up having a positive relationship with food and thus, not need to ever enter bulimia treatment. 

Bulimia Treatment

Bulimia treatment usually consists of a combination of psychotherapy and the use of antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medications. Many people that suffer from bulimia need to take antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medications because their poor mental health and lack of self-esteem are part of the reason why they developed bulimia in the first place.  Usually, people in bulimia treatment will also have experienced dieticians or nutritionists around to help them treat their eating disorders. Physicians, close family members, and a case manager also often take part in a person’s bulimia treatment.  Types of psychotherapy that often occur within a person’s bulimia treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, family-based treatment and therapy, individual therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and forms of therapy that focus on correcting any issues that one has with his or her nutrition. Ultimately, the goal of bulimia treatment is to get individuals that suffer from bulimia nervosa to achieve bulimia recovery. 

Achieve Bulimia Recovery by Receiving Bulimia Treatment at Montare Behavioral Health 

An ideal place to achieve bulimia recovery through bulimia treatment is at a mental healthcare facility such as Montare Behavioral Health. This is because an eating disorder, such as bulimia, is a specific type of mental health disorder. Thus, mental health treatment facilities, such as Montare Behavioral Health, should offer various treatment programs, therapies, and resources to help treat people that suffer from eating disorders, such as bulimia.  Here at Montare Behavioral Health, we make sure that we offer all the forms of treatment and therapy that an individual would need to overcome any eating disorder. This is especially the case with an eating disorder that is as prevalent in the world as bulimia nervosa. For example, we here at Montare offer specialized cognitive-behavioral therapies, individual therapy, family therapy, interpersonal therapies, and more to our bulimic patients. We also offer dual diagnosis treatment so that we can treat any mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, that may co-occur with bulimia.  Montare Behavioral Health is located in Los Angeles, California. Thus, our patients get to enjoy the beautiful California sunny weather along with the amazing city of L.A. while they receive treatment for their eating disorders and other mental health conditions.  To learn more about Montare Behavioral Health and the different forms of eating disorder treatment programs that we offer, contact us today. Our team is dedicated to educating people on mental health and helping others achieve recovery from any mental illness, including eating disorders.