Many people with bulimia nervosa, sometimes referred to as just bulimia, are secretive about their symptoms and do not seek help. But effective treatment is available and it is possible to recover.
What is bulimia nervosa?
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that can cause binge eating.
The first step is to see a doctor, who can then refer a person to a psychologist, psychiatrist or dietitian as needed.
Treatment usually begins with psychotherapy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), family-based treatment (for children and adolescents) or other kinds of therapy.
This can help to overcome unhelpful thinking patterns about weight and body image, as well as improve mood and anxiety.
It’s important to restore healthy eating habits and seeing a dietitian for nutrition advice can be very helpful.
Some people with bulimia nervosa may be treated with an antidepressant to reduce their anxiety and improve their mood and self-control.
Self-help tools can also help. Read more about self-help tools.
Recovery can be a slow process and some people have relapses along the way.
Stress can trigger symptoms for bulimia nervosa to reappear, so it’s important to get back to treatment of the condition if that happens.
Where to get help
If you, or someone you know, think they might have bulimia nervosa, contact the following organisations for support, information and counselling:
Last reviewed: July 2017