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Bulimia (cont.)

Follow-up for Bulimia

Follow-up is a critical component in the treatment of eating disorders. Monitoring of a person's compliance with any treatment program for bulimia, whether that involves behavior modification (such as dietary restriction), psychotherapy, scheduled medication, or all three forms of treatment is vital to the success of treatment.

Bulimia Prevention

Removing the emphasis on physical appearance in our culture and in particular within the family is the best way to prevent thought processes and behavior that put people at risk of developing eating disorders. Programs that educate young people about the facts versus myths of nutrition, exercise, and weight loss while promoting self-esteem are being increasingly used to prevent bulimia and other eating disorders.

Bulimia Prognosis

If left untreated, bulimia can have a significantly negative impact on the sufferer's life. For example, bulimia increases the likelihood of infertility, the pregnancy-associated dangers of postpartum depression, and the need for C-section deliveries.

Experts suggest that the earlier bulimia is recognized and treated, the better the chances for recovery. Factors such as long duration of symptoms, older age at start of treatment, severe weight loss, or clinical depression are associated with a poorer prognosis. The rate of relapse with all eating disorders is fairly high and is usually triggered by social stress. Bulimia can have a mortality rate as high as nearly 4%.

For More Information on Bulimia

Academy for Eating Disorders
Phone: 847-498-4274

American Psychological Association
Phone: 800-374-2721

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Phone: 847-831-3438

National Eating Disorders Association
Phone: 800-931-2237

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH, HHS
Phone: 866-615-6464

Medically reviewed by Marina Katz, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

American Psychiatric Association. Treatment of patients with eating disorders, third edition. Practice Guidelines, the American Psychiatric Association 2006, May.

Austin, S.B., J. Kim, J. Wiecha, et al. "School-based overweight preventive intervention lowers incidence of disordered weight-control behaviors in early adolescent girls." Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine 161.9 (2007): 865-869.

Cohen, S.B. "Media exposure and the subsequent effects on body dissatisfaction, disordered eating and drive for thinness: A review of the current research." Mind Matters: The Wesleyan Journal of Psychology 1 (2006): 57-71.

Crow, S.J., C.B. Peterson, S.A. Swanson, et al. "Increased mortality in bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders." American Journal of Psychiatry 166 Dec. 2009: 1342-1346.

Easter, A., J. Treasure, and N. Micali. "Fertility and prenatal attitudes towards pregnancy in women with eating disorders: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children." British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2011.

Franko, D.L., M.A. Blais, A.E. Becker, et al. "Pregnancy complications and neonatal outcomes in women With eating disorders." American Journal of Psychiatry 158 (2001): 1461-1466.

Guez, J., R. Lev-Wiesel, S. Valetsky, et al. "Self-figure drawings in women with anorexia; bulimia; overweight; and normal weight: A possible tool for assessment." The Arts in Psychotherapy 37.5 (2010): 400.

Holm-Denoma, J.M., and B.L. Hankin. "Perceived physical appearance mediates the rumination and bulimic symptom link in adolescent girls." Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 39.4 Jan. 2010: 537-544.

Kinzl, J.F., and W. Biebl. "Are eating disorders addictions?" Neuropsychiatry 24.3 (2010): 200-208.

Pritts, S.D., and J. Susman. "Diagnosis of Eating Disorders in Primary Care." American Family Physician 67.2 Jan. 2003: 297-304.

Richards, P.S., M.E. Berrett, R.K. Hardman, and D.L. Eggett. "Comparative efficacy of spirituality, cognitive and emotional support groups for treating eating disorder inpatients." Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention 14.5 (2006).

Yager, J., M.J. Devlin, K.A. Halmi, et al. Guideline Watch (August 2012): Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders, 3rd Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2012.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2016

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Bulimia »

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is one of the eating disorders identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).

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