Tag - Depression

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that requires a comprehensive treatment program for successful recovery. Like other eating disorders, bulimia is complicated and not fully understood, but some of the contributing factors include genetics, environment, psychological, and cultural influences.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, bulimia nervosa is characterized by the following:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating (characterized by eating large amounts of food in a short period and a sense of loss of control over eating behaviors)
  • Use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting and/or obsessive exercise
  • The binge eating, and compensatory behaviors occur at least once a week for three months
  • Self-evaluation is inappropriately influenced by the person’s weight and shape
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa

Signs and Symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa

Individuals suffering from bulimia may show several signs as a direct result of self-induced vomiting or purging, and even more so if the binge-purge cycle is repeated often. Other signs and symptoms of bulimia can include:

  • Noticeable weight fluctuations
  • Skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals
  • Stealing or hoarding food in strange places
  • Drinking excess amounts of water or non-caloric beverages
  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen
  • Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
  • Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles
  • Discoloration or staining of the teeth
  • Creation of complex lifestyle schedules or rituals (to allow time for binge eating and purging sessions)
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and/or activities
  • Behaviors and attitudes indicating a preoccupation with the importance of weight loss, dieting, and control of food
  • Self-evaluation is inappropriately influenced by the person’s weight and shape
  • Extreme mood swings

Health Consequences of Bulimia Nervosa

The binge-purge cycle of bulimia can damage your body, and as it worsens, the symptoms and consequences become more severe. Complications from the disorder can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Electrolyte imbalance (can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death)
  • Inflammation and/or rupture of the esophagus
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Tooth decay and/or staining
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastric rupture
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Chest pain

How We Treat

Bulimia nervosa can be life-threating, but recovery is possible with a comprehensive treatment program that addresses the specific needs of the client. At River Centre, our professional treatment team works with the client and their families to customize a treatment plan. We combine evidence-based therapeutic interventions with support and individual attention to help clients address the underlying issues of their eating disorder.

Clinical treatment approaches include:

  • Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Nutritional Rehabilitation
  • Medical and Medication Services

Our treatment program offers a comprehensive spectrum of services for treating eating disorders and co-occurring conditions such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, OCD, and trauma. The levels of care we provide help to target the needs of our clients.

Bulimia Treatment at River Centre

You do not have to be alone in your struggle; River Centre is here for you. If you or a loved one would like more information about bulimia treatment, call us today at 866.915.8577 or complete our contact form. Our admissions team is here to assist you.

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DNA Puzzle

The Link Between Genetics, Depression and Eating Disorders

The origin and development of eating disorders is a complex topic. In the past, misunderstandings about these disorders led many people to create false conclusions. Thankfully, newer research on how these ailments develop in an individual are slowly dispersing these misperceptions. These newer studies have even started to explore the connection between eating disorders like anorexia, depression and a person’s genetics.

The traditional stereotype for someone with an eating disorder was a younger, wealthier, Caucasian woman. However, this stereotype is not true. In fact, people from a wide-variety of backgrounds can, and do, suffer from eating disorders. Pushing beyond societal identifiers like race and income levels, researchers are now beginning to study the human genome in order to discover additional eating disorders indicators.

For conditions like anorexia nervosa, bulimia or binge eating; healthcare professionals still are not sure as to why some people develop eating disorders. However, there are well-documented risk factors that can increase an individual’s chances for developing an eating disorders. Studies have shown a strong correlation between the existence of depression and occurrence of an eating disorder. These disorders also commonly co-occur with anxiety disorders.

Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is one of the more common mood disorders. Similar to eating disorders, the symptoms of depression can affect how a person feels and thinks. Even activities such as sleeping, eating, or working are impacted. Clinical depression is more than feeling sad for a day. It is much longer and more severe. For example, for a behavioral health professional to make a diagnosis, the symptoms for major depressive disorder usually must be present for at least two weeks.

In one study, researchers sampled 2,400 individuals who were hospitalized for an eating disorder. Out of this sample group, researchers discovered that 92% of those in this group struggled with a depressive disorder. Discovering connections between these conditions has encouraged researchers to look at more recent large-scale genomic studies. Using genetics to explore the complexity of eating disorders is starting to produce clues as to the disease’s origins and why it is so persistence.

One of the first studies that was able to document a strong correlation between eating disorders and genetics was in 2017. The research, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, was able to identify a significant genetic marker for anorexia nervosa. The implication of this research suggests that health conditions like anorexia nervosa may both exist as a psychiatric and a metabolic disorder.

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any eating disorder. Commonly referred to as anorexia, the disorder is characterized by extreme caloric restriction resulting in weight loss, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image. Individuals with this condition sometimes go undiagnosed, but researchers estimate that roughly 2 percent of women and 0.3 percent of men suffer from this disease.

Researchers have found, by studying the genetic makeup of identical twins, that anorexia is 50 to 60 percent inheritable. Earlier genetic research has linked these same genomic regions to autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

With the success of the Human Genome Project, which was completed in 2003; researchers can now study the impact of genetic code on a person’s health. The successful completion of the project gave scientist and physicians the ability, for the first time, to read the complete genetic code for building a human being. Currently, this DNA blueprint is used to research many other diseases and conditions. Hopefully, this new research will provide a better understanding as to why and how eating disorders develop, as well as offer additional treatment options.

Experienced Healthcare professionals can help individuals identify eating disorders, as well as provide safe and effective treatment options. For additional information or questions about eating disorder treatment options, please contact the staff at River Centre Clinic (RCC). Their Eating Disorders Programs provide a full range of treatment options for both adolescents and adults.

River Centre Clinic’s primary goal is to provide high quality, cost-effective, specialized care for patients with eating disorders in a state-of-the-art treatment environment. Our levels of care deemed most cost-effective for the majority of these patients is Partial Hospitalization for adults and Residential Treatment for adolescents. We also provide outpatient services for this patient population in order to facilitate transition to and from the above higher levels of care that are usually required for effective treatment of this population.

The EAT-26 (Eating Attitudes Test) assessment provides anonymous and quick feedback for a variety of eating-related health conditions.

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Genetics, Depression, Eating Disorders, Anorexia 

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