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How to Manage Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa?

Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry

2 min read

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Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating and purging afterwards. The people suffering from this disorder turn to food during distress and binge on it.  Since their body image is very important to them, therefore, they purge the food to avoid gaining weight. They purge by use of laxatives, vomiting or diuretics.

Anorexia, on the other hand, is when the patients starve themselves out of fear of gaining weight. These patients have very low BMI and have distorted view of their body. Both these disorders are psychological, unhealthy and require the help of a psychologist.

Anorexia can even cause death due to starvation in worse case scenario. Therefore, these disorders need to be addressed urgently to improve the lives of the patients.


Psychotherapy involves talking over the disease with a professional therapist or psychiatrist. There are many treatment routes that can be taken. Behavioural therapy is taking out the destructive eating habits replacing them with the normal habits.

Cognitive therapy can be employed as well to change the thinking of the patients. The aim of the treatment is to alter the way patients think about food and weight. Therapy also helps the patients become stronger mentally.


Many times the disorders occur because of depression, and others suffer from anxiety due to the disease, therefore treating it can help with the eating disorders as well. The drug fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) helps treat the depression and anxiety. It helps even if depression has not been diagnosed.

Nutrition Education:

The patients of anorexia have extremely low weight so they need a proper dietary regimen.  Likewise, the bulimic patients need a proper diet plan to follow for healthy eating habits. They need an expert to design them a meal plan to help them in restoring their health. A proper nutritional education regarding normal eating patterns and balanced diet can help change their attitude towards food.


For severe cases of anorexia and bulimia, hospitalization may become necessary. The disorders may pose several health risks like heart diseases, serious depression, suicide risk etc. Since these eating disorders can also result in severe malnutrition, the patients might need intravenous fluids, nasogastric tube feedings or total parenteral nutrition.

Family Therapy:

Family based psychological treatment can be used as well in which the whole family intervenes to help the patients with the treatment. It is more useful for adolescents as opposed to adults. The support of the family in helping patients recover can be very beneficial. The family is also able to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease and provide timely aid to the patients.

Improve body image:

All the patients of the eating disorders suffer from distorted body images. The patients should be counselled into accepting their body size and to end the negative image of their body; only then can they stop basing their worth on their looks alone.

They need to be taught to stop comparing themselves to others and hence putting themselves down. When their self esteem and body image improve, they will stop perceiving their body as their enemy and will have a healthier relationship with it.

It is important to learn how to manage the eating disorders with the help of experts. Book an appointment with a top psychiatrist in Faisalabad, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry - Author Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry is among the Best Psychiatrists in Lahore. Dr. Nyla Shafiq Chaudhry is a Psychiatrist. She has a MBBS, MCPS (Psychiatry), DMP and MD (USA) degree along with an experience of 24 years. She is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

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