This type of eating disorder usually develops during adolescence or young adulthood. People who struggle with anorexia nervosa tend to view themselves as overweight even when they are dangerously underweight. They avoid eating certain types of food, severely limit their calories, and constantly monitor their weight. Individuals with anorexia have a distorted body image, denying that they are seriously underweight. Also, their perceived body shape influences self-esteem and mood.
People with bulimia nervosa take large amounts of food in a short period of time and then purge. During binge eating, the person experiences a feeling of lack of control and cannot stop eating until she or he feels painfully full. After a binge, the person attempts to purge to relieve discomfort and make up for the calories consumed.
Most commonly, purging behaviors involve forced vomiting, the use of laxatives and diuretics, excessive exercise, and fasting. Alike people with anorexia, individuals with bulimia usually maintain a relatively normal weight.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of evidence-based psychotherapy treatment that focuses on your behaviors, feelings, and thoughts, rather on your eating disorder. CBT targets maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that maintain your ED symptoms. This type of psychotherapy aims to help you recognize and change your distorted thoughts that cause eating disorder behaviors.
Interpersonal therapy is another evidence-based treatment that effectively treats bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. IPT puts your eating disorder into a social context, targeting the interpersonal difficulties that maintain your ED symptoms.
IPT helps you improve relationships and communication and resolve interpersonal issues, which in turn leads to a reduction of eating disorder symptoms.