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Anxiety Clinic: Eating Disorders - Bulimia

Bulimia Treatment in Stoke on Trent & Newcastle under Lyme

Do health professionals really understand bulimia like you do? You may well assume all health care professionals are the same - they simply don't understand! However, if this is your experience to date it's because you've never spoken to a genuine specialist before. Our specialised niche is very narrow... but within that niche our expertise and experience is second to none.

How about if we opened by telling you how your life revolves around planning your next binge? What if we brought up all the considerations you need to account for to keep your bulimia a secret? Do you know where all the toilets are in your town? Do you run water (or wait for hand driers to operate in public toilets) to cover the purging noise? How many hiding places do you currently have for binge food, wrappers and puke vessels?


eating disorder bulimia

What if we were to raise the smell of vomit? Is it on your breath, in your nose, on your clothes, has it worked it's way into your carpets or does it just hang around in the air fed by those sick bags and pots you've puked in? Are you embarrassed to have people over or have you reached the stage where your (inconvenient) friends are already secondary to the binge and purge process?

Do you need to arrange going out around laxatives you've taken or do you find the only place you really want to go is where you can restock your essentials for your next binge? Social engagements can become so trying when all you can think about is your next binge - people are so inconsiderate encroaching on your little habit.

What do you do with all the binge packets and wrappers? Where do you hide them? Have you mastered folding them into tiny pieces and stashing them in cereal boxes so your bin man wont realise what you're up to?

Do you carefully select what you buy? There's always the consideration of what not to combine on account of how it feels and tastes when it comes back up. Sure some stuff looks deliciously tempting - but you know you'll pay dearly when you bring it up. Oh and be sure not to forget the diet coke - it's low cal and makes the purge process so much easier.

How about the checkout girl at the shop or supermarket - has she rumbled you yet or are you well prepared with excuses for all the binge food you buy? Just how guilty do you feel when other people see what you're buying? How much money do you invest in keeping this habit going? Have you ever considered just throwing the money directly down the toilet?

How many times has vomit and toilet water splashed you in the face? Have you gotten stomach acid in your eye yet? Isn't it amazing how bile floats like a greasy film on the surface? How sore is your throat. How badly do your lips burn? Are your teeth in a bad state and does your dentist suspect what you're up to?

Should you purge in the shower? The running water is great for masking the noise... but what if you block the drain? Can you poke those chunks through with your fingers?

OK now for the really disgusting stuff. Have you fingered through your vomit to see what stage you're at and what's still left inside for purging? Have you eaten out of the bin? Have you eaten dangerously out of date stuff which probably wont kill you because you're going to throw it up anyway? Does your toilet flush sound like a round of applause... because you're all done purging?

Do we sound like your average GP or health care professional - or do we sound like we understand what's going on?


Bulimia - The Secret Cycle Of Misery...

bulimia tips

If you're like most bulimia sufferers you'll probably admit you feel you have no self control. It's probably also true to say that you've never really felt good enough.

You've reached a point in your life where you equate food with happiness. Planning your next binge fills you with anticipation and excitement. It focuses your mind. The desire to binge fills the emotional void that otherwise dominates your life. Binging is better than sex, food is more attractive than men - and they last longer and are more reliable respectively!

Some (but not all) bulimia sufferers feel guilty after they've binged. Purging relieves the guilt. Other sufferers worry about gaining weight (from the 4000 calories they just downed in under an hour). For them purging is about weight control. For the remainder, purging has become a habit which always follows the binge. The majority of bulimia sufferers we work with describe purging as bringing about a sense of relief or completion.

However, bulimia is a cycle similar to anorexia. The processes are different but the cycles share several similarities. It's not uncommon for an anorexia sufferer to overcome their condition and replace it soon after with bulimia.

Bulimia sufferers are generally unhappy in themselves. Often it's an issue with control and (like anorexia) the binging and purging process is something the sufferer initially controls. We are emotionally rewarded (through feeling good) for having control in our lives - it's called stability. However, bulimia quickly begins to spiral out of control.

The control you craved initially now becomes reversed. The addiction to the binge and purge ritual now controls your thought processes focusing your attention on your next fix (and how to get away with it). The excitement and anticipation you feel planning your next binge becomes ever associated to the food. Just as your mind learns to recoil from painful experiences - it also learns to pursue those things which promise pleasure (and relief). When you compare that to feelings of anxiety, feeling you have no control and possibly even self loathing - it's easy to see why the brain takes on bulimia as an addiction!

In essence, you try to feel good by performing a ritual, but the ritual behaviour has taken control of your focus and your life. Your thoughts are dominated by fulfilling the binge and purge ritual just as a heroin addict focuses on obtaining opiates. If you can't quit bulimia tomorrow and walk away from it - it's an addiction.

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The Real Problem With Bulimia - An Illusionary Sense Of Control...

effects of bulimia

The focus for bulimia tends to be on the binge and purge process. This is understandable as (socially speaking) pigging yourself and then vomiting on purpose isn't a natural act. Many people would say that vomiting (involuntarily) is one of the most unpleasant things that could happen to them - yet to a bulimia sufferer it's water off a ducks back.

Regardless of how many forums you frequent, no matter how many bulimics you know - it doesn't normalise what you're doing. Would you inject heroin into your groin with a dirty needle? There are plenty of drug addicts who consider that to be normal everyday life. We're just trying to give you some perspective as to how your mind will try to make excuses that what you're doing is OK.

The real problem with bulimia is that it gives you an illusionary sense of control (and in some cases a sense of belonging to a community). The emotions you feel with respect to the anticipation and excitement of the binge, the pleasure of eating (although you may not even taste most of it) and the relief of purging afterwards has taught your brain to capitalise on this habit.

The brain is designed to seek out pleasure and to avoid pain (mostly to avoid pain). So, the ritual of bulimia relieves the pain (the lack of control, the low self esteem, the emotional void) and replaces it with pleasure (anticipation, excitement, scrummy binge food) and then finishes off nicely with relief (following purging) which in effect resets the process ready to start again.

The downsides are:

  • Your life is secretive and you have to be deceptive in order to maintain the secrecy.
  • You view people as obstructions to your binge and purge rituals.
  • You regularly experience feelings of guilt with respect to your behaviour.
  • Your attention is consumed by your next binge - nothing else matters.
  • Your health continues to deteriorate through the purging process.
  • Your mind continues to seek out justifications that your behaviour is normal.
  • Flushing good food down the toilet is expensive.
  • The binge and purge cycle has to be maintained otherwise you become swamped with anxiety.

If you're happy to live that way then we're really pleased for you. However, there is an alternative...

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How To Have A Great Life Without Needing Bulimia...

bulimia effects

What is it about binging and purging that you really love?

The growing feelings of anticipation, the childlike excitement, the filling of the emotional void, the relief of purging... or all of the above?

All these things are emotional states - they actually have no direct correlation with food. However, what has happened is that you've developed a habit (ritual) where food fires off these pleasurable emotional states within you... and it feels good! Your brain has learned to associate food with experiencing these feelings. Remember how your brain is designed to seek out pleasure and avoid pain - well, it's doing it's job.

We'd wager that before bulimia, your life wasn't stimulating much in the way of emotional pleasure for you. You probably found most of your emotions were fuelled by feeling you had no control, feeling you weren't good enough or similar. These bad feelings (emotional states) weren't generated because of a lack of bulimia. They were generated by your thought processes - or the way you process information in your mind.

Think of a time when you had no self esteem - go ahead and do it now.

Think back to that time again and notice what you were saying to yourself in you own head (your internal dialogue). Does the voice have a nice warm tone or is it critical and judgemental? How do you feel when you think about that?

Feels bad right?

It is our thought processes that create our feelings and emotional states. You can have anticipation, excitement, fill the emotional void (with whatever you choose) and have relief whenever you want - it's just a matter of understanding how your mind processes information. How you used to be and how you are now is simply the result of habitual thought patterns. Your personality is basically the sum total of your emotional experiences to date. In the past they've been random and have simply been responses to outside events... but now... you can have a choice.

We teach people not only how to control their emotional states, but also how to generate pleasurable ones at will. Bulimia isn't a problem with food - it's developed to deal with a problem with your emotions. In the absence of a viable solution your brain has settled for a (costly and potentially destructive) compromise. It's a habit you've stuck in because the alternative is even worse.

We can give you all the benefits bulimia gives you, with none of the drawbacks. It's your decision.

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What To Do Now...

bulimia recovery

If you've read this far you're probably serious about recovery - which is a positive step to take. You've sought out the information you need, gained an understanding of how things work and now you've found the specialists to help you to recover.

The next step is for you to contact us. You can be assured that all we'll do on your call is to talk briefly about your condition and book you in for a no obligation, risk free consultation. Our contact number is 01782 855585.

If you live in or near Stoke on Trent you can find further information on how our face to face consultations work, our fees and our satisfaction money-back guarantee here: Face to Face Consultations

If you live further afield where travelling to our Clinic in person would be unfeasible, but you'd still like to work with us - we offer Online (Skype) Appointments with the exact same specialised Consultants: Online Consultations

If you'd like more high quality information on bulimia, feel free to look at our dedicated Bulimia Treatment website.

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