In general, people with bulimia try to hide their symptoms and, contrary to popular belief, their physical appearance is often not extremely thin. However, by paying attention to the details, we can notice the presence of this disorder and give them the necessary attention and support.
In this article we will see how to help a bulimic person through various techniques based on psychological supportWe will also review the concept of bulimia and its main causes, as well as the associated disorders.
What is bulimia?
To properly determine how to help a person with bulimia, it is important to know what this disorder is.
Bulimia is an eating disorder in which the person suffers from it being the irrational urge to indulge in deep puffs of food. These excesses occur in a short period of time, and subsequently the feeling of guilt for having eaten in this way leads the subject to induced vomiting (perhaps by manual techniques or by the consumption of laxatives) or the like. . .
Obviously, bulimia has repercussions on the person, leading them to present with significant discomfort, both physical (vomiting and harmful eating habits) and mental (anxiety and inability to regulate binge eating). Intense anxiety states as it approaches mealtimes they are characteristic of people with bulimia.
Causes of this eating disorder
The origin of this disorder depends on various social, psychological and biological factors. People who are more likely to suffer from bulimia in general are constantly concerned about their weight, even if it is within normal parameters.
People with obesity problems or those who feel dissatisfied with their physical condition and have a marked rejection of their own body or a particular characteristic of it, usually their weight (body dysmorphia), have a higher risk of developing bulimia.
Another circumstance that favors the origin of this disorder is the need to meet beauty standards which promote certain brands by distributing their marketing and advertising material.
Low self-esteem and personal insecurities are some of the most common psychological factors that can cause people to present with bulimia.
How to help a bulimic person?
In the next few lines, we’ll see a list of tips on how to help a bulimic person, explained to make them easier to apply.
1. Avoid criticizing your weight
People with bulimia they have a negative thought pattern regarding their own body. This is why any criticism, even if it is constructive and with good intentions, causes them to explode with significant discomfort. Ideally, don’t highlight your physical appearance during conversations.
2. Help them understand that they have a problem
The first step for the person to initiate a significant change in their dysfunctional eating habits is that he understands that his behavior is causing him serious health problems
It is important to talk to the person and make them understand that the physical is not everything and that physical and mental health are important, as well as to show them that the consumption of alcohol is a habit that must be corrected by therapy.
3. Support therapy
It is not enough to support, it is necessary to make this person understand that the best source of help is from a behavior specialist. Psychotherapy allows people to stabilize themselves and reduce seizures and purges, as well as other symptoms associated with them.
The therapist will be able to determine what the exact triggers for these behaviors may be and start a treatment plan which is responsible for dealing specifically with the subject’s thoughts that need to be restructured.
4. Support without overwhelming
The accompaniment, complementary to the therapy, must be carried with care by the person providing the support, whereas bulimic subjects are quite anxious.
You have to be patient and gradually lead the subject to the restoration of his eating habits in a progressive way, making him understand why he must eat well.
5. Support the nutritionist
Once our support and therapy begins to bear fruit and the person understands on their own that they need to change their eating habits, it is time to suggest that they help the nutritionist, who you can tell him what is the best diet to stay healthy beyond binge eating.
6. Help improve self-concept
If we make the person have a better self-image, we are taking giant steps to win the battle against bulimia, we must make the subject understand that we are more than our physical appearance; helping to find out what are its main virtues and strengths helps a lot.
- Bulik, CM; Marcus, MD; Zerwas, S .; Levine, MD; La Via, M. (2012). The changing “heavy landscape” of bulimia nervosa. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 169 (10): 1031-6
- Palmer R. (2004). Bulimia nervosa: 25 years later. The British Journal of Psychiatry: Journal of Mental Science 185 (6): 447-8.