Bulimia Treatment
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by purging behaviors to “get rid of” the food. Binge eating is when someone eats a large quantity of food in a short period of time, often past the point of fullness and with a feeling of lack of control. Purging can take many different forms, including vomiting, excessive exercise, or abusing laxatives or diuretics.  Bulimia is a serious illness that carries concerning mental and physical health risks, but with the right treatment, recovery is possible for every person struggling.  Read on to learn more about bulimia treatment and what it looks like at Equip.
What to expect from bulimia treatment As with treatment for all eating disorders, bulimia treatment begins by normalizing eating habits, reducing disordered behaviors, and achieving weight restoration if necessary. Taking these steps first is essential, as it’s nearly impossible to make real progress or address any underlying issues while you’re still actively engaging in harmful behaviors and dealing with potential malnourishment.
Therapy plays an essential role in bulimia treatment. This work can have a variety of different goals, including identifying the root causes of disordered behaviors, identifying triggers, building healthy coping skills, and strengthening relationships.
Nutrition therapy
Normalizing your eating habits is a cornerstone of all eating disorder treatment. Nutrition therapy for bulimia involves restoring weight (if necessary) and working to stop the binge-purge cycle by eating regular meals and snacks.
Support system
While it may be possible to go through eating disorder treatment alone, it makes the journey much more difficult, and can make recovery less sustainable. Involving friends, family, or chosen family can provide you with accountability, keep you motivated during challenging moments, and give you the emotional support you need to keep going.
What does bulimia treatment at Equip look like?
At Equip, we use a tailored, multidisciplinary approach to treat bulimia, pulling from the leading evidence-based strategies to individualize care for each unique patient.  When you begin treatment at Equip, you’ll be matched with a dedicated 5-person care team, all of whom have specific experience treating bulimia. The team members include:
Medical provider
All Equip medical providers have extensive experience treating eating disorders. Our medical providers include physicians, pediatricians, and psychiatrists, as well as registered nurses and nurse practitioners.   When you begin bulimia treatment, it’s likely that your body has some nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, or other physical health issues. After you’ve been cleared for medical stability, your Equip medical provider will monitor existing health complications and address any issues that arise during treatment, as well as manage prescriptions.
Licensed therapist
Our therapists include licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), and associate marriage and family therapists (AMFTs). Every licensed therapist at Equip specializes in treating eating disorders. Your therapist will help you address the emotional or psychological issues that may be contributing to the eating disorder, as well as understand any underlying root causes. You’ll also work to identify triggers and develop healthy coping strategies that you can use in place of disordered behaviors. 
Registered dietitian
All Equip dietitians are registered dietitians (RDs) or registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) who have experience helping people recover from eating disorders. Normalizing eating patterns is a key part of bulimia treatment, and Equip dietitians provide the guidance and support you need to achieve that. They’ll help you develop an individualized meal plan, learn more about the nutrition you need to function optimally, and intuitively understand your body’s hunger and fullness cues. 
Peer mentor
Peer mentors are people who have personally experienced an eating disorder and recovered. Equip mentors also go through specialized mentorship training. Recovery is hard, but peer mentors are living proof that it’s possible— and worth it. They’ll provide a listening ear, unconditional support, and personal advice for tough moments.
Family mentor
A family mentor is someone who has helped a loved one through their eating disorder recovery. They also receive specialized Equip mentorship training. Supporting someone through eating disorder treatment can feel overwhelming. A family mentor provides much-needed empathy, support, and practical advice to a patient’s loved ones. 
Treatment modalities we use at EquipThe specifics of bulimia treatment at Equip will vary from patient to patient, but we always employ evidence-based modalities proven to work. Based on a patient’s specific needs, challenges, and life circumstances, we’ll pull from the leading bulimia treatment approaches, which include:  
CBT-E is extremely individualized for each patient. It focuses on addressing the behaviors and emotions that are contributing to bulimia symptoms. It works by identifying and challenging the distorted thoughts that you may be having about food, your body, your self-worth, and more.
DBT encourages patients to more effectively manage challenging emotions and improve relationships through a variety of different coping strategies. With bulimia treatment, this will mean learning strategies that can help you resist urges to binge, purge, or use other disordered behaviors.
ERP for bulimia involves gradually exposing patients to the fears and anxieties that contribute to their disordered eating patterns. By slowly facing the foods, situations, or people that tend to lead to bingeing and purging, you become desensitized and learn other ways to manage those triggers in the future. 
Family-based treatment is the gold standard of treatment for young people with eating disorders like bulimia. With FBT, families play an integral role in treatment, providing accountability and support at home and attending many provider sessions with their loved one.
Bulimia treatment at Equip generally starts off with a high frequency of provider sessions as you and your team work to address malnutrition, restore weight (if needed), and stop disordered behaviors. As you progress toward recovery, you’ll begin to taper down your sessions. Your team will continually look at what’s working (and what’s not), and adjust the focus, frequency, and approach of your sessions to ensure that you’re always moving in the right direction.
What makes Equip’s bulimia treatment so effective?Equip provides evidence-based bulimia treatment built for lasting recovery. The factors that make our treatment so effective include:
Multidisciplinary approach to care
Eating disorders don’t affect just one part of a person, and so they can’t be treated by just one provider. Therapists, medical providers, dietitians, and mentors ensure that you’re given the wraparound support you need.
Focus on lasting recovery
We know lasting recovery is possible for each of our patients with bulimia, and we’re committed to helping you get there. Our treatment is based on clinical research and designed to help you not just achieve recovery, but also maintain it throughout the rest of your life.
Integration of support system
We welcome patients’ families, friends, and other loved ones into the treatment process. They become educated about eating disorders and how best to support you in recovery, forming a safety net against relapse after formal treatment ends.
Fully virtual, flexible, and accessible treatment
Equip fits into your life, not the other way around. There’s no waitlist, no driving to appointments, no uprooting your life or pressing pause on the things that matter—and research shows that virtual treatment is just as effective as in-person care.
Our virtual model is a fraction of the cost of in-person care, and is covered by most major insurance carriers for up to a year. 
Body empowerment programs
It’s much easier to sustain recovery when you’re at peace with your body, which is why we offer a specialized body image program to all patients. Through this program, we help you reexamine the judgments, thoughts, and feelings you have about your own body, push back against society’s harmful appearance ideals, and learn to feel comfortable and empowered in your own skin.
Equip can help
Eating disorders don’t go away on their own. If you or someone you love is struggling with bulimia, it’s time to get help. Get a free consultation