Bulimia Recovery: Overcoming Bulimia
Bulimia recovery is possible and studies suggest that more than half of woman continue to remain free of bulimic behaviors, even ten years after beginning treatment.1 However, it does take time and effort to recover from bulimia. In addition, overcoming bulimia usually requires ongoing bulimia treatment.
Bulimia Recovery is Hard Work
Many bulimics try to overcome bulimia on their own and sometimes with half-hearted efforts. This type of behavior is not going to stop bulimia, as this eating disorder is a serious mental illness that should be treated with the help of professionals. The patient and those around them need to be prepared to work hard if overcoming bulimia is to become a reality.
Patients Experience Relapse
Few people know going in, but relapse is normal. Most people in bulimia recovery have relapsed one or more times. Bulimia behavior can be very ingrained in a person's psyche and the psychological reasons why the eating disorder is present can be hard to deal with, so relapses happen. In order to recover from bulimia, the patient needs to prepare for relapse and not let it derail her or his efforts to stop bulimia.
It Takes Dedication to Recover From Bulimia
Bulimia recovery can feel like a full-time job in the beginning. There are doctors, dentists, nutritionists, support groups and therapists to see. There are medical tests and test results that patients have to face and deal with. There are treatment choices and bulimia recovery goals to make. In short, it feels overwhelming, but dedication to the process of recovery is the only way to overcome bulimia. The patient needs to dedicate him or herself to:
- Becoming educated about bulimia
- Following the advice of eating disorder professionals
- Reaching out for help
- Charting the process
- Understanding that backslides are not a reason to give up on trying to overcome bulimia
- Making recovery from bulimia a top priority
Ongoing Treatments for Overcoming Bulimia
Even once bulimia treatment succeeds, bulimia relapses are very common in around 30% of patients. The best way to guard against relapse is by continuing some form of bulimia treatment. Those most likely to require long-term treatment include cases where:
- Bulimia was not treated for a prolonged period
- Anorexia is a problem
- The patient has a history of trauma
- Serious other mental illnesses are present
Ongoing bulimia treatment may include medication, nutritional counseling, psychotherapy, weight and health monitoring, and bulimia support group therapy.
Last Updated: 14 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD