Cognitive behavior therapy (or CBT) is one of the most widely used psychotherapeutic approaches used for bulimia treatments. This kind of therapy tries to resolve the dysfunctional emotions and consequent dysfunctional behaviors that bulimics typically display. Since your emotions are at the root of your eating disorder, this kind of therapy is vital to try and work through those emotions and feelings.
The aim of CBT when used as a treatment for bulimia; is to alter perceptions about body image, about food and about eating and to help create healthier eating patterns. Since eating disorders are typically ongoing situations (mine went on for 20 long years), the therapy could last up to a year or longer. I underwent CBT briefly as part of my bulimia treatments and have now been in recovery for 6 years.
There are no known risks of cognitive behavior therapy; whereas the benefits may be many. In fact there is evidence to show that CBT is the most effective treatment for bulimia nervosa. Consider all that you can gain from this therapy;
- As a bulimic you get to understand your eating disorder better - the symptoms, the situations or people that trigger episodes of binging and purging, so that you are better able to predict your own behavior by talking with a therapist.
- You learn how to systematically chart events where you binged and/or purged, and to record these episodes in a journal. This can help you see a pattern emerge so that you can tackle your disorder with greater vigor once you know more clearly the source of the feelings.
- Part of what bulimia treatments try to achieve is to reduce the hold that your disorder has over you. This is done in therapy by changing the way you think about eating and about your symptoms. Shining a light on your emotions and behavior brings awareness and eventually leads to changes in behavior.
- In therapy, you will learn the benefits of eating a healthy diet and spacing your meals properly. Regular meals and healthy snacks up to 6 times a day (rather than our traditional 3 meals a day) are shown to be a healthy way to eat for everyone, not merely bulimics.
- Stresses and the inability to handle them and ineffective coping mechanisms were the root cause of my eating disorder. I learned new ways and means of managing my emotions to feel better without resorting to eating and gradually found that I regained control over my life. Overcoming my self-destructive thought patterns went to the root of my eating disorder and this is what helped me regain control over my actions.
- As a result of undergoing cognitive behavior therapy as part of my bulimia treatments, I found that I was able to change not only how I thought and felt, but ultimately how I managed my life.