Psychotherapy as Bulimia Treatment
In a world obsessed with thinness, it is very hard not to succumb to the temptations of easy weight loss even if these methods are not healthy at all. Bulimia is the most common unhealthy method of weight loss. Unfortunately, people, especially women, are easily drawn to this because they are conditioned to be attractive – thin is beautiful. Images of rail-thin models and actors emblazoned on billboards, television, and runway shows encourage the notion of thinness as beauty. But those afflicted with the disorder still have hope. Bulimia treatment is available as psychological therapy to guide patients to recovery and a healthy lifestyle.
Psychotherapy is the commonly prescribed treatment because experts agree that the problem is psychological. People often engage in bulimic behavior – eating and vomiting – because of low self-respect, distorted body image, insecurities, and other psychological factors like depression and stress. Therapists usually start treating bulimia by addressing the mental and psychological issues. They believe that if these negative perceptions are erased or converted, controlling bulimic impulses will be easier for the patient.
With all psychological therapy, it is required that the patient acknowledges her problem. She must accept that treatment takes time and effort – her disorder did not happen overnight, and neither will recovery. Given that, there are several bulimia treatment methods a counselor uses. Cognitive behavior analysis is the most popular of these methods.
This type requires the patient to write a journal or food diary. Thoughts and daily food intake are recorded in the journal which the patient reads with her counselor. This will make the patient more aware of her eating habits and the emotion she attaches to her eating and food. The journal keeps everything in perspective, allowing the patient to see herself objectively, making it easier to address the emotional and psychological issues that trigger bulimic behavior.
A similar treatment is behavior analysis. The counselor suggests different rewards and reaction as means of fighting bulimic impulses. The treatment emphasizes the use of alternative activities and even food when the patient suffers bulimia attacks. For example, if the patient feels the onset of bulimic impulses, she can divert her attention to reading or taking walk rather than doing a fridge raid. Behavior experts suggest replacing the contents of the fridge and the pantry with healthy food like nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits.
This way, if the impulses become too difficult to resist, the patient won’t feel compelled to purge because the food she consumed were health foods.
Joining support groups is also an effective in bulimia treatment. Having other people with the same problem encourages the patient and provides her with a support network. Enlisting the help of family members and friends is also a healthy option because the patient is assured of love and support regardless of her weight. The patient had bravely recognized the disorder as first step in her battle with bulimia. What she needs now is to come to terms with herself, her relationship with others, and loving support.