What is Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is characterized by the following:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating – an episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
- Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most individuals would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
- Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviours in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; fasting; or excessive exercise.
- The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviours both occur, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
- Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
- The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa.
How is Bulimia Nervosa Treated?
The evidence-based treatment for bulimia nervosa is CBT-E, a comprehensive adapted version of more traditional cognitive and behavioural therapy specific for eating disorders. There is also evidence that DBT skills (and sometimes the full DBT model) is effective to help individual learn to regulate emotion and reduce impulsive, self-destructive behaviours.