Bulimia Nervosa

Understanding Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for Bulimia Nervosa, a serious eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging.

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Bulimia Nervosa - What Is It?

Bulimia nervosa is a life-threatening eating disorder, characterized by consuming large amounts of food at one time, followed by purging to eliminate calories. Individuals with bulimia are frequently preoccupied with the fear of gaining weight, often stemming from their self-perception.

When left undiagnosed and untreated, this psychological condition can have severe consequences on both a person's physical and mental health.


Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is typically characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by purging or other compensatory behaviors such as fasting or excessive exercise. Some common signs and symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa include:

  1. Having constant fear of gaining weight
  2. Feeling of guilt or shame after a binge episode
  3. Feeling of losing control over eating during a binge episode
  4. Being too self-conscious about one's body shape and weight
  5. Having obsessive and unhealthy thoughts about body weight and shape
  6. Repeated episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time
  7. Purging or forcing one's self to vomit or get rid of all the food they have consumed
  8. Restricting one's self from having any calories through fasting or by use of laxatives


Causes of Bulimia Nervosa

While the actual cause of bulimia nervosa is still unknown, researchers and experts think that there are risk factors affecting its development. 

They mainly pinpoint how the popular culture and the media put pressure on people to achieve a certain body type to feel accepted and beautiful. These outside forces can certainly influence a person's perception towards body image and self-esteem. Stressed and other personal circumstances like grief can all lead to bulimia.

Some of the factors that may contribute to the development of bulimia nervosa include:

  1. Genetics:

    • Research suggests that certain genetic factors may contribute to the development of eating disorders like Bulimia.

  2. Environmental Factors:

    • Cultural pressures to be thin, a history of trauma or abuse, and other life stressors can contribute to the development of Bulimia Nervosa.

  3. Psychological Factors:

    • Low self-esteem, perfectionism, and negative body image can contribute to the development of Bulimia Nervosa.


What Are the Treatment Methods for Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Nervosa is a serious condition that requires professional treatment. Treatment may involve a combination of therapy, medication, and nutritional counseling. The goals of treatment for Bulimia Nervosa are to help individuals learn to:

  1. Develop healthy eating habits and a positive body image.
  2. Manage emotions and stress in a healthy way.
  3. Identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors related to food and body image.
  4. Improve relationships and social support.


Some of the most effective treatments for Bulimia Nervosa include:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

    • CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors related to food and body image.

  2. Family-Based Therapy (FBT):

    • FBT is a type of therapy that involves the whole family in treatment. It is often used with adolescents who have Bulimia Nervosa.

  3. Medications:

    • Antidepressants may be used to treat co-occurring depression or anxiety.

  4. Nutritional Counseling:

    • Nutritional counseling can help individuals learn to develop healthy eating habits and meal planning.


Bulimia Nervosa is a serious eating disorder that requires professional treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with bulimia nervosa, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

With the right treatment and proper support, individuals with this condition can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall health and well-being.



  • Sharan, P., & Sundar, A. S. (2015). Eating disorders in women. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(Suppl 2), S286–S295. http://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.161493
  • Bulimia nervosa (2018) Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/symptoms-causes/syc-20353615 (Accessed: August 2023).

Are you or someone you know is suffering from bulimia and body image condition? We at Serin Center are more than happy to provide you with the best treatment programs. We utilize innovative and holistic neuroscience approaches to help our patients upgrade their lives.

You may visit our clinics located in Peoria and Scottsdale, AZ, to get the best bulimia nervosa treatment. Contact us today and schedule an appointment with our skilled neuropsychologists.