Understanding What Bulimia And Anorexia Have In Common In Terms Of Diagnosis And Treatment

Bulimia and anorexia nervosa share some common traits. Both are eating disorders. Both are treatable disorders if patients seek help before the disorders go too far and take their lives. Both diseases are also treatable in anorexia and bulimia treatment facilities. To understand more about these disorders, what they have in common, and why they are frequently treated together, the following is provided.

Roots in Anxiety 

The nervosa part of anorexia is a good indicator of the origins of these eating disorders. Both are rooted in intense anxiety. Those that suffer with eating disorders are extremely anxious about how they appear to others, and how they are perceived by themselves and others. The first part of treatment for either of these disorders is to treat the anxiety. This is done with anti-anxiety medications, particularly medications that increase appetite and weight gain.

Medications are monitored while patients are in a facility; patients have to take their medication in the presence of a nurse, and the patient's mouth is checked. Nurses stay with the patients for up to an hour after medication has been administered to make sure the medication stays in the patient's stomach until it has been mostly absorbed. Finally, patients with anorexia and/or bulimia have to attend both group and individual cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to address the habits that these disorders adopt and develop.

Patients May Swap Behaviors

Patients who seek treatment or who are brought to a facility for treatment because they are minors often come in with one disorder and then trade it for another. For example, a patient who enters the facility exhibiting anorexia is required to eat. The process is a difficult one since the body is not used to consuming much, so the therapists and staff build toward eating a full meal as the patient goes through other treatments to address other aspects of the problem.

Since this patient spent so much time avoiding eating and now has to eat, he/she decides to binge-eat and vomit instead. He/she looks like he/she is eating healthy, which makes it look as though he/she is responding to treatment. What the staff does not know is that this same patient has decided to start purging to avoid eating. When the behavior is discovered (and well-trained staff can recognize when this is occurring), more care is taken to monitor the patient closer to prevent purging and starving cycles.