Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder

Bulimia (Bulimia Nervosa) is a condition characterized by uncontrolled eating or binge eating, most often occurring in women (ninety percent of bulimics are women).  During the binge, a bulimic eats enormous quantities of food, typically sweet, high calorie foods such as gallons of ice cream, whole loaves of bread, or entire cakes.  The binge is likely the result of some trigger, a particular stress or anxiety that has formed as an ignition spark for the binging.  During the binge, clients report that they often feel consciously absent from the eating.  Almost always, the bulimic engages in his eating privately, and though she feels a loss of control during the binge, the control returns immediately if another person appears.  

After binge eating, bulimics are overwhelmed with guilt.  Because they often have poor or punitive views of their bodies, their guilt drives them to take extreme and dangerous measures to prevent weight gain.  Bulimics typically fall into one of two groups, depending on how they handle the guilt.  Those who purge characteristically induce vomiting, but they also abuse laxatives and diuretics (using illegal drugs in some cases) or enemas to avoid weight gain.  Those who do not purge resort to dangerous periods of physical exertion, such as extreme exercise or sudden and prolonged periods of fasting.  

A psychological cousin of Bulimia Nervosa is simply known as Binge Eating Disorder. Those suffering from this disorder show most of the characteristics of bulimia, except for the extreme efforts to rid the body of the calories consumed during the binge.  As a result, a person with Binge Eating Syndrome is inevitably obese.

One well-recognized profession associated with high cases of bulimia is the fashion modeling industry.  We all recognize that in a profession which puts such strong demands upon body size for advancement, bulimia seems inevitable.  However, bulimics need not be models.  In fact, most of them are not.  Many bulimics include our friends, our family, or our co-workers.  Many suffer privately and would be horrified if their bulimia were discovered.  The causes of the binge eating and the purging or calorie burning activities fueled by guilt spring from a number of different factors, crafted and solidified by emotions in the Middle Mind.  

Before starting hypnotherapy, which is particularly beneficial for bulimics, a hypnotherapist should insist that certain physical and medical issues be addressed by a medical professional.  For instance, the stress from purging or other calorie burning efforts may cause dental problems, intestinal problems, and stomach issues.  Drug use may result in dangerous body chemicals and addictions.  The immediacy of these health risks means that they must be addressed before therapy.  Only after a medical clearance should hypnotherapy commence.

Once therapy begins, using the client’s oral history and the therapist’s hypnosis, both the causes and the full psychological nature of the bulimia can be explored and identified.  Together, the therapist and the client will use techniques that dislodge, breakdown, and otherwise disrupt the currently embedded behaviors.  Once the control of these long-standing behaviors is weakened, the client will develop new methods of dealing with the emotional or psychological stressors.  These new behaviors come via suggestions offered during hypnosis and are utilized by the client’s own unique Middle Mind to form new healthy responses.  Such responses will include higher levels of conscious activity and control to help create wise decisions and positive self-images.  The client leaves the therapist ready to implement the changes and to make progress in the real world.  Any challenges she may face can be addressed in subsequent sessions so that she and the therapist can develop steps to ensure that the new healthy behaviors are permanent improvements.  Anyone suffering with bulimia should see a hypnotherapist as soon as possible.  They need not suffer any more!