Eating disorders can be difficult to talk about because there's so much shame surrounding these diseases. But they affect most people at some point in their life, whether directly or indirectly. It's likely you have a friend or family member affected by bulimia nervosa because between 1 and 3 women out of 100 will develop bulimia at some point in their lives. And it's not restricted to just women. Additionally, at some point, 10 million American males will also suffer from a form of an eating disorder. These issues need to be addressed so that you or your loved one can find support and look into proper treatment options. Effective treatment for bulimia relies on several modes working in concert to not only restore normal eating behavior but to also address the thought patterns that trigger these behaviors. Here are some of the recommended treatment options for bulimia nervosa based on years of research and evidence.

Nutritional Counseling

Most treatment for bulimia includes some type of nutritional counseling. The psychological issues of bulimia can and will be addressed but the practical issues need to be handled as well. Nutritional counseling involves helping patients break destructive cycles of binging and purging or compensation. A nutritional counselor will work with the patient to develop a structure including regulating calorie intake levels and the pace of meals to help maintain weight in a healthy way.


Hand-in-hand with nutritional counseling, a patient suffering from bulimia needs to address the underlying psychological issues at play. According to scientific studies, cognitive behavioral therapy is the leading and most effective evidence-based treatment for bulimia nervosa. CBT is designed to help the patient identify and change the thoughts and the behaviors surrounding their disorder, specifically those that center on food as well as the patients' thoughts about themselves. It can also be helpful to pair CBT with other types of psychotherapy in an increasing stepped fashion as the treatment progresses.


In concert with the two treatments listed above, it's often beneficial for patients to receive SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, a type of anti-depressant that works to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter or hormone that is linked with a sense of feeling good and content. It carries messages between brain cells, information that tells your body that everything is ok. The only FDA approved SSRI for treating eating disorders is fluoxetine. A common brand is Prozac.

For more information on eating disorders, reach out to a local eating disorder treatment center.