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What Is the Best Bulimia Treatment?

Learn about the best treatment for bulimics from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video about eating disorders.

Transcript

So there's no one treatment for Bulimia nervosa that's right for everyone. But the good news about Bulimia nervosa treatment is that we do actually have good clinical studies that have evidence of good effect of both certain types of psychotherapies as well as certain types of medications for treatment of Bulimia nervosa. While these various modalities might not work for everyone, there's several things to choose from and there's a good change that at least one of these modalities will work for you.

Psychotherapy really is the gold standard to Bulimia nervosa treatment. And in particular there's a type of psycho therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, that is a here and out treatment that has been studied in multiple clinical studies at this point and showing to have good effect on repetitive binge eating and purging, so that frequency of those symptoms decline significantly in a good number, probably half or more of folks that take on that type of treatment and really sort of put a good effort into it.

Cognitive Behavioral Treatment is not a passive treatment. It's something that certainly require showing up for sessions on a weekly basis or even sometimes a twice weekly basis. It requires things like doing homework at home. You make weekly goals with your therapist, very tangible goals. And participating in that treatment actively is certainly an important piece of the recovery and is important to making Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work for you, and getting out of the therapy all that you can get.

Other types of therapy may be more appropriate or better for other people, it just depends. So for people for whom Cognitive Behavioral Therapy doesn't work, there's other types of therapy like Interpersonal Therapy or IPT that might be helpful that also has some good scientific evidence behind it.

Medications are a good approach for people. There's evidence that people for whom CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy hasn't worked well, that starting a medication might be just the thing that the person needs to get going in the right direction. And there a variety of different types of medications that work. Anti-depressants are one class of medication that tends to work. But there are some other medications as well that might be helpful. In the end, figuring out the best Bulimia treatment for you is best starting consultation with a mental health professional or a treatment center that really knows these disorders and can figure out the best treatment plan that works.

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