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What is Bulimia?

Bulimia is a complex mental illness, but it is treatable and with the right treatment, recovery is possible. 

There’s no “right way” to have Bulimia, however, there are shared characteristics and behavioural patterns that help in the diagnosis of the illness.

Often, people suffering with Bulimia eat large quantities of food – called “binging” – and then purge the calories from their system.

Purging doesn’t always take the form of self-induced vomiting — a person can also rid their system of calories by fasting, exercising compulsively, or taking laxatives or diuretics.  

For people suffering Bulimia, eating becomes a means of emotional release. It provides relief in times of stress but the subsequent purging, which satisfies their overwhelming urge to remove the calories, often leaves the individual feeling guilty and ashamed. The person feels a complete loss of control and suffers a good deal of stress as a result. 

The symbolic acts of binging and purging can typically be seen in other areas of someone’s life. For instance, someone might restrict and binge on alcohol, drugs or sexual relations.

Despite this, people who suffer with Bulimia are often high-functioning individuals who maintain a weight deemed “normal” and conceal their symptoms so the illness goes undetected.  

Like other eating disorders, Bulimia can appear to be about food but is really caused by complex, underlying emotional issues that must be addressed in specialist eating disorder treatment. 

It’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you are concerned that you, or someone you care about, is suffering with Bulimia.

The eating disorder can lead to imbalances in body chemistry that affect the functioning of the heart as well as other major organs. The sooner you get help, the quicker and more sustained recovery is likely to be. 

What causes Bulimia?

Like other eating disorder diagnoses, there is no one single cause. Rather, a combination of social, genetic and psychological factors that can contribute.  

Common behavioural and psychological symptoms of Bulimia: 

  • Eating uncontrollably (binging) and/or fear of eating uncontrollably 
  • Alcohol or drug abuse 
  • Petty theft to get hold of food to binge on 
  • Secretive eating and isolation 
  • Social erraticism —sometimes withdrawn, sometimes seeking approval 
  • Acts of self-disgust and self-harm 
  • Perfectionism  
  • Depression and other co-occurring conditions such as OCD 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Preoccupation with body image and appearance 
  • Confusion about sexuality, or masking true feelings with promiscuity 

We heal the underlying cause by providing individuals with the tools they need to recover – recognizing that everyone is different and therefore everyone’s experience of an eating disorder will be different. 

Orri’s approach to treating Bulimia. 

Bulimia is often characterised by denial and resistance, so when a person comes to treatment, they have already taken steps towards their recovery which is important to recognise. 

Often, people suffering with Bulimia struggle to manage their emotions in an appropriate and healthy way. As such, our multi-disciplinary team works with the individual to forge new pathways and healthy coping mechanisms, whilst addressing any co-occurring conditions which may fuel or exacerbate the eating disorder behaviours. 

Like with other eating disorder diagnoses, Orri believes that recovery is possible and that treatment should heal the individual as a whole, embracing his or her complexity and unique history. We heal the underlying cause by providing individuals with the tools they need to recover – recognizing that everyone is different and therefore everyone’s experience of an eating disorder will be different. 

Our particular area of focus is specialist day treatment through a stepped approach. By taking a stepped approach, we can provide the right level of support as individuals maintain their careers, go to school or university, and return to their lives alongside recovery. It’s this flexibility and emphasis on collaboration that makes our approach unique. 

Do I have an eating disorder?

Answer the S.C.O.F.F. questionnaire.

S.C.O.F.F a screening questionnaire used by GPs to identify eating disorders without having to ask invasive or triggering questions. Though not diagnostic, a score of 2 or more positive answers means you should seek support from a professional. 

  • Do you ever make yourself Sick because you feel uncomfortably full? 
  • Do you worry you have lost Control over how much you eat? 
  • Have you recently lost more than One stone in a three-month period? 
  • Do you believe yourself to be Fat when others say you are too thin? 
  • Would you say that Food dominates your life? 

Respect, kindness and compassion. Every step of the way.

You can live a life free from Bulimia.

We’re here to support you on this journey.

You might feel as though you’ve tried every treatment in the world and want to explore something completely different.

You may have had eating disorder treatment before, or, this may be your first time reaching out.

Or, you may be unsure whether you have an eating disorder, but you are aware that there’s something not quite right about your relationship to food, eating and your body.

Our expert team understands the complexities of eating disorders. All our clinicians are specialists in eating disorders and have spent their careers working alongside people and their families so that recovery becomes possible for all.

We are here to help people overcome eating disorders and deliver the highest standard of care to individuals and their families.

Join our unique recovery community in the heart of London.

Call: 0203 918 6340

Email: askorri@orri-uk.com

Recovery from Bulimia is possible. We’re here, just reach out.

We accept private medical insurance. Please ask our Admissions Specialist for more details.

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