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Eating disorders are very serious and potentially fatal illnesses that can cause severe disruptions to a person’s eating habits and relationship with food. It is very common for young girls, teens, and young women to find that they are obsessing over food, their body shape, and weight. These are all early warning signs of an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

There are a variety of bulimia treatment centers located across the US that specialize in helping young women take control of their physical and mental health through counseling and creating a healthy relationship with food. At Clementine, our bulimia treatment centers focus on treating adolescents with eating disorders like bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

We believe that early intervention is extremely important when supporting effective treatment outcomes for our young patients. While many parents and children believe that the most common eating disorders are addictive disorders, they are actually compulsive disorders. This means that if the illness has time to embed itself in a patient’s daily actions and become a part of who they are, it can become much more difficult to treat successfully. Early bulimia nervosa treatment is especially important because it is the second most common eating disorder among teens. In fact, between 1 and 3 percent of teens in the US begin showing signs of bulimia nervosa every year.

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Bulimia Nervosa?

Individuals with bulimia nervosa experience recurrent and often frequent episodes of eating or binge-eating very large amounts of food and feeling a great lack of self-control while doing so. After binge-eating, patients will then try to compensate for their earlier overeating by trying to eliminate the food with forced vomiting, the excessive use of diuretics or laxatives, excessive exercise, fasting and/or a combination of these behaviors.

While parents and friends may be able to easily identify anorexia nervosa by low body weight, with bulimia nervosa, teens are often able to maintain what most would consider a healthy or normal weight for a young woman. Some early warning signs that it may be time to discuss bulimia inpatient treatment at Clementine include:

  • Complaining of a chronically sore or inflamed throat.
  • Worn down tooth enamel and/or teeth that are increasingly sensitive and decaying. (This is a common symptom of increased exposure to stomach acid as a result of forced vomiting.)
  • Acid reflux or other gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw.
  • Severe dehydration from continued purging of fluids.
  • Intestinal irritation or distress from overuse of laxatives.
  • An electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Seeking treatment for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is never an easy process, but the earlier families can identify the illness and seek help, the better chance teens have to make a full recovery and go on to make the most of their formative years.

When Is It Time to Find an Inpatient Bulimia Treatment Center?

There are many different aspects to consider when seeking bulimia inpatient treatment. In particular, the level of care available, the treatment philosophy offered and of course, financial aspects are all important for families to discuss. It may be time to research “bulimia treatment near me” if:

Attempts to Stop Bulimic Behaviors Have Failed at Home

While this may seem like a “no-brainer” for some, it is really important for those who are exhibiting bulimic behaviors to understand that it is rare for people to stop on their own. Because this is a compulsive disorder, the binge-eating and purging habits that have developed over time can be extremely difficult to stop without professional intervention. In order to make a full recovery from bulimia nervosa, the majority of patients must first establish nutritional restoration, which can be safely achieved under medical supervision in an inpatient treatment program.

Other Attempts at Treatment Have Been Ineffective

If a teen has already attempted outpatient treatment or other forms of counseling but finds that their symptoms are continuing or worsening, then inpatient care may be a better option.

Secondary Symptoms Have Developed

It is not uncommon for people who have anorexia and/or bulimia nervosa to begin to show signs of a secondary condition, like self-harming over time. If a patient has a history of self-harming or they are concerned that they may begin to self-harm, inpatient bulimia treatment is an ideal way to keep themselves safe. Other secondary conditions to be aware of include alcohol abuse, drug abuse and over-exercising.

Psychiatric Stabilization is Necessary

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia eating disorders can often coexist with depression, suicidal thoughts or other psychiatric illnesses. If a teen is experiencing any signs of depression or has had suicidal thoughts, seeking treatment where their mood can be monitored is extremely beneficial.

Teen Bulimia Nervosa Statistics Every Parent Should Know

Often times, teens mistakenly believe that bulimia nervosa is not a serious problem because they are able to maintain a “normal” weight and can continue to stay active in sports, at school and other social activities without much issue. This means that many teen girls will continue their bulimic habits for months and years at a time, often destroying their overall health in the process. That is why it is important for families and schools to make sure that teens and young women are fully aware of the various facts related to anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Some bulimia statistics that parents should be sharing with their teens include:

  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • Bulimia nervosa is the second most common eating disorder among teens
  • 50 percent of girls between the age of 11 and 13 think that they’re overweight
  • 80 percent of 13-year-olds have already attempted to lose weight
  • Teen bulimia nervosa often goes on for long periods of time before anyone notices there is a problem
  • 95 percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
  • Children can begin exhibiting bulimic behaviors as early as 5 years old
  • With teens, females are most likely to have bulimia nervosa
  • Half of the teens with anorexia nervosa also have bulimia nervosa
  • 2 to 3 out of every 100 women in the US have bulimia nervosa

Types of Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

Eating disorder treatment is available in a variety of different settings to help each patient have the best possible chance to overcome their condition and make a full recovery. For parents and other family members, understanding the different levels of care available and the different methodologies used can be very beneficial as they choose the right care provider for their teen girls.

Levels of Care

  • Intensive Outpatient/Outpatient –This treatment option Is ideal for patients who are medically stable and do not require daily medical monitoring. Patients are also psychiatrically stable and have their symptoms under control enough to maintain normal educational, social and vocational commitments.
  • Partial Hospital– This level of care is best suited for patients who are medically stable but may still need daily physiologic and mental assessment. Or alternatively, is a patient is psychiatrically stable but finding it difficult to maintain their normal social, educational and vocational commitments. Patients who are also engaging in daily binge-eating, purging, fasting or other weight control techniques but are otherwise psychiatrically stable may benefit from this type of treatment.
  • Inpatient / Residential– This type of treatment is tailored to help individuals who may be either medically or psychiatrically unstable. Some common signs that inpatient may be the best treatment option include rapidly worsening symptoms, suicidal thoughts, unstable vital signs, other acute health risks.

Types of Psychotherapy

Another important decision families must make is to decide which type of psychotherapy will be best for their child. Different types of psychiatric treatment for anorexia and bulimia may work for some patients but not for others, so it’s a good idea to explore all of the options available before committing to one type of therapy. While reducing eating disorder behaviors is the first goal in treatment, continued treatment is necessary to maintain recovery. Some of the most common therapies available to treat bulimia nervosa and other common eating disorders include:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-E)
  • Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Family-Based Treatment (FBT)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

How Can Teens Manage Treatment and School/ Social Commitments?

As more and more teens and young women seek treatment for bulimia and other eating disorders, staying on the road to recovery can be difficult when managing their school and social lives. However, there are a few different ways that teens can balance treatment and school life to keep recovery their top priority.

Relying on a Strong Support System

As teens and young women complete inpatient treatment it is vital that they have a support system of doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, nutritionists and their family and friends to rely on. Recovering teens should have access to professional help whenever possible to keep their minds on track and their health in check.

Communicate with School

Teens and their families should have an open line of communication with their school to let them know what they are going through. In fact, many schools are now equipped to help teens transition back into their normal routine as they complete treatment.

Ease Back into Classes

It is always a good idea for teens in treatment for bulimia nervosa to ease back into their regular class schedule. Taking on too many tasks all at once can be very overwhelming as students try to manage their eating habits as well. If a patient starts to feel overwhelmed with their class schedule, it may be beneficial to only attend school for a few hours each day before going back to their regular workload.

Where Can I Find Bulimia Treatment Near Me?

At Clementine, teens and their families will find the support they need to successfully recover from bulimia and other common eating disorders. We are proud to provide treatment for young women that is centered around empathy, education, and support. We understand that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa are very complex disorders and specialize in treating adolescents with expert medical and psychiatric care.

When parents search online for “bulimia treatment near me” they will likely be inundated with options but we believe that it is important to take plenty of time when choosing the right treatment center for young women. At Clementine, we provide the highest level of care that families can find outside of a hospital in a homelike and welcoming setting. To learn more about the bulimia inpatient treatments we offer, contact our team today for more information.