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Bulimia Nervosa

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is more common than anorexia nervosa, and is often characterized by uncontrollable binge eating, followed by self-induced purging (by vomiting or using laxatives). Most people with bulimia are of normal weight, or close to normal weight for their height and age. For this reason, and the fact that most people with bulimia hide their binge eating and purging from others, it may be difficult to know if someone has bulimia.

People with bulimia often struggle with self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. Their body weight is strongly tied to feelings of self-worth. 90% of individuals with bulimia are women, and their weight is a major factor in their level of self-esteem, making treatment so important.


People with bulimia may exhibit the following signs or symptoms:

  • Binge eating and purging episodes at least 3 times a week
  • Self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives to compensate for the binge eating
  • Feelings of being out of control

In addition, after binging and purging, the person may feel ashamed or depressed. Oftentimes, symptoms of anxiety and/or depression accompany bulimia.


Bulimia can be successfully treated through a combination of:

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Medication

Dalton Associates can help you find the right mental health professional for the treatment of bulimia. They may use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or a combination of therapies, to effectively help you reduce or eliminate thoughts that lead to the cycle of binge eating and purging. Treatment will also involve treating the psychological issues behind the development of the disorder.


Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Eating disorders.
Retrieved from

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, pp. 583-594, Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

Kaplan, Harold I., M.D. and Sadock, Benjamin J., M.D., Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry Behaviorial Sciences/ Clinical Psychiatry, Eighth Edition, pp. 720-736, New York: Williams & Wilkins, 1998.

Romano SJ, Halmi KJ, Sarkar NP, Koke SC, Lee JS, A placebo-controlled study of fluoxetine in continued treatment of bulimia nervosa after successful acute fluoxetine treatment, 151(9):96–102, American Journal of Psychiatry, 2002.

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