Bulimia is a conditions, where people use eating as a way of managing how they feel. If you or someone you love has bulimia then you will notice a pattern of binge eating, often food stuffs that are high in carbs and sugar as this will give you the most immediate change in your feelings. These food stuffs combine a calming sensation because they have a nice "mouth feel" plus they also give a spike of energy and so people get a pleasant feeling immediately.
The use of food to get this feeling also results in feelings of guilt and loss of control and so a person who is bulimic often will purge in order to remove the guilt that stems from this eating pattern, and to limit the impact on their body will purge to remove the food.
Many bulimics have a structured purging pattern and so will eat in a typical way to others and purge only when they feel overwhelmed.
Bulimic behaviour is complex and has many functions. For some people, they are centred specifically around body image whilst for others can be focused onto self esteem and personal confidence. This highly managed eating is a way of dealing with events in their lives and gaining some sense of control, in a world where they may feel vulnerable, worthless or incapable.
Purging then, is a way for some people to manage their self esteem, regain some control in their life or to manage a misplaced image of themselves. Regardless of why people adopt bingeing and purging patterns of managing their food, they do so because it feels completely right at the time. Effective treatment is about giving people understanding, time, tools to heal and rebuild themselves plus choices which allow them to meet their needs without adopting these behaviours.
If you or a loved one is currently experiencing this behaviour then you can regain control by choosing new approaches. This starts with gaining greater awareness of how you feel and so that when you are aware that you feel the way you want to, you can continue doing whatever is making you feel ok, as long it is not harmful to you or others. Should you feel vulnerable then you can adopt a new behaviour so that you change how you feel instead of waiting until you are unable to cope and instead adopt the unhelpful eating pattern.
There are lots of tools and techniques to help you change how you feel. CBT has a range of tools to help you and the key is raising your awareness so that you are able to respond before you are in the next cycle of unhelpful eating.
Starting with your GP, as they can refer to NHS treatments. The treatments available here adhere to NICE guidelines for eating disorders, bulimia and bingeing. The range of treatments available varies form area to area, so accessing local and national eating services or accessing specailist independent help may give you more tailored and timely treatments if you are not making the progress you would hope to.
All bulimia therapies are different. Medication will support you to feel differently and this will give you space to learn how to manage your emotions better. NHS provided CBT is evidence based treatment which can support you to develop some of the emotional management skills you need to find an alternative to unhelpful eating. Independent therapy varies too depending on who is delivering and how they have been trained. Some people imagine therapy to be an intense and invasive process, where you rest on a couch and you are asked a whole range of uncomfortable questions about your past. The treatment I offer is solution focused. This means we deal with the here and now and the treatment evolves week by week as you move forwards. People are surprised how quickly treatment can be effective. I have worked with people with eating issues who have left treatment in a handful of sessions. Equally the feel of treatment surprises people as it is much more enjoyable than the picture in their heads, with lots more laughter.
I offer a programme of therapy which helps you to develop self esteem, to be assertive so that you are making the right decisions for you and also to manage guilt and anger effectively so that you accept yourself instead of judge your self. Therapy involves talk therapies including a tailored CBT, NLP to build self awareness and then together we build toolkits to manage better during those challenging times where you feel triggered, have cravings and urges. Practical tasks are integrated into treatment so that you are able to take therapy beyond the treatment space and practise everything you learn so that you are able to progressively replace the old behaviour with the way you would like to behave and have a new, healthy relationship with food and those around you.
I then use hypnosis to cement all the growth so that you natural do the things that you have practised away from therapy so that this new behaviour becomes totally organic.
Bulimia therapy is dfferent from person to person. Eating issues are unique to each person. Typically with binge eating and purging, treatment takes around three months and by that time the client reports that the behaviour has been replaced, they feel significantly happier, much more confident, calmer and they have an understanding of what was the purpose to their condition and know how to avoid it re-occuring in the future.
To book your free appointment to talk about how you can recover and take back control from your issues or those of a loved one email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a Skype appt or call (+44) 07981974796 to book a clinic appointment in Sheffield.
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