Patients with bulimia nervosa have many similarities to those with anorexia nervosa, such as an obsession with body image, self esteem issues, and purging; however, the key difference between these two conditions is that patients with bulimia have uncontrollable episodes of binging, whereas patients with anorexia present with an aversion to food. The motivations of patients with anorexia and bulimia are similar, but what provides relief for their anxiety is completely different. Patients with anorexia feel relief when avoiding food and purging, while patients with bulimia tend to overeat and then feel guilt, shames and anxiety. As a result, they decide to purge food to compensate.
Physically, patients with bulimia tend to be of normal or high body weight, while patients with anorexia usually become dangerously thin and light. It is important to remember, however, that these disorders can affect people of different ages, genders, and body types.
How to stop eating disorders
Along with medical management, psychiatric counseling is a major part of treating the disorder. The treatment of patient with eating disorders include:
- Nutritional counseling
- Treatment of co-existing disorders and consequences of their condition, such as anemia or acid reflux
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Psychoactive medications that may help conditions such as depression or anxiety
- Support groups
- Hospitalization with restraints or suicide watch if the patient has suicidal thoughts