Bulimia Nervosa Treatment

Bulimia Nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by a recurring pattern of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors such as vomiting, excessive exercise, or the use of laxatives. Individuals with bulimia often struggle with a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight. Addressing this complex disorder requires a multifaceted approach, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E) has emerged as an effective and evidence-based treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E) is a specialized form of cognitive-behavioral therapy designed to target the core features of eating disorders, including bulimia nervosa. Developed by Professor Christopher Fairburn, CBT-E is based on the understanding that unhelpful thoughts and behaviors contribute to the maintenance of the disorder. It aims to identify and modify these patterns, helping to promote healthier attitudes and behaviours around food, body image, and self-esteem.

Key Components of CBT-E:

  1. Psychoeducation: Understanding the nature of bulimia nervosa is a crucial first step in treatment. CBT-E provides individuals with information about the disorder, its physical and psychological consequences, and the factors that contribute to its development and maintenance. This knowledge empowers individuals to make informed choices about their health.
  2. Regular Eating: CBT-E emphasizes the importance of establishing regular eating patterns. This involves planning and consuming balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, reducing the likelihood of binge eating episodes triggered by prolonged periods of food deprivation.
  3. Self-Monitoring: Individuals are encouraged to keep detailed records of their eating behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. This helps identify patterns and triggers, enabling therapists to work collaboratively with clients to develop coping strategies and alternative responses to challenging situations.
  4. Cognitive Restructuring: Addressing distorted thoughts and beliefs about food, body image, and self-worth is a core aspect of CBT-E. Therapists help individuals identify and challenge irrational or negative cognitions, replacing them with more balanced and realistic perspectives.
  5. Behavioral Techniques: CBT-E incorporates various behavioral strategies to modify unhealthy behaviors. This may include exposure exercises to reduce avoidance of feared foods, as well as experiments to test the validity of negative beliefs. Gradual exposure to feared situations helps individuals confront and overcome their anxieties.
  6. Relapse Prevention: Building resilience against relapse is a crucial aspect of CBT-E. Therapists work with clients to develop coping skills, problem-solving strategies, and a solid support network to maintain progress over the long term.

Bulimia nervosa is a complex and challenging eating disorder, but with the right approach, individuals can and do achieve lasting recovery. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E) stands out as a well-established and evidence-based treatment.

At Moving Forward, Janene England and Alex Corcoran both hold the ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential. This credential is awarded to a select group of clinicians, in recognition of their advanced training, skills, and experience in the treatment of complex eating disorder presentations. To receive this credential, clinicians need to demonstrate that they have met several key criteria, as well as provide a written commitment to continue to undertake ongoing eating disorder specific professional development activities throughout the year.

Janene England and Alex Corcoran have trained across many models of treatment over the decades of their respective professional careers, and take an integrative approach to helping people in their recovery. Please see the ‘meet our team’ section of our website for further information.

Eating Disorders Mental Health Care Plans: Patients with eating disorders can access up to 40 psychological services per calendar year – www.mbsonline.gov.au. The following sites have great FAQ sections re. the items and referral process: www.insideoutinstitute.org.au/medicare and www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au, and we are always happy to try and assist with any queries you may have.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you would like some help. To enquire about an appointment at Moving Forward Clinical Psychologists, please complete our Online Contact Form, or call us on 1300 133 013. Our experienced Clinical Psychologists are located in Terrigal (10 minutes from Erina) on the beautiful NSW Central Coast. We are also available Australia wide, via Telehealth.