Bulimia Treatment
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woman seeking treatment for Bulimia
Bulimia nervosa, more commonly referred to as bulimia, is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Professional treatment is often necessary to overcome the disorder and some insurance covers bulimia treatment.

Those with bulimia may receive a combination of therapeutic approaches, such as psychotherapy (individual or group counseling), family therapy, nutrition counseling, and medication. Any of these approaches can be provided in an inpatient or outpatient recovery center.

Several different types of bulimia treatment programs are available. The right type of rehab depends on the severity of the disorder, whether the person has any medical or psychiatric conditions, the location of the program, and how much it costs.

Learn more about bulimia treatment options, including:

Is There a Cure for Bulimia?

Yes, it is possible to recover from bulimia, particularly when the person receives appropriate treatment under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Studies have shown that about 50% of people with bulimia can recover after treatment, 30% can have a partial recovery, and about 20% may continue to show symptoms of bulimia.1

However, it is also possible to relapse, especially when the underlying causes of bulimia, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are not treated.

A multidisciplinary approach is the most recommended form of treatment for bulimia. This approach typically includes a doctor, a nutritionist, and a mental health therapist working together. An Eating Disorder Self-Assessment is the first step in your journey towards wellness.

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Residential Inpatient Treatment

group therapy session for eating disorders
Inpatient or residential bulimia treatment centers allow the person to live in the facility. The person receives 24/7 medical supervision and support that is focused on the treatment and recovery from bulimia and comorbid illnesses. These settings may offer:

Those with more severe or long-term struggles with bulimia, as well as those with comorbid psychiatric disorders, may benefit from the additional support and supervision provided in a residential, inpatient recovery program.

Upon completion of an inpatient bulimia rehab program, people will often continue their recovery through ongoing outpatient treatment approaches (such as regularly scheduled psychotherapy sessions or support group attendance) to help with any lingering symptoms and prevent relapse.

Without additional therapy or follow-up, some people relapse once they return to their community and old relationships.


Those who are suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration in association with their eating disorder might first need a period of hospitalization to stabilize their condition. A hospital treatment setting can treat health issues such as abnormal heart rate or blood pressure, inability to regulate temperature, electrolyte imbalance, and malnutrition. 4 A doctor will help you decide the most appropriate treatment for your health needs.

If you’d like to learn more about inpatient treatment centers or other recovery options, call .

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient rehab centers typically offer psychotherapy (either individual or group), nutrition counseling, family therapy, support groups, and/or medication. They are part-time programs in which you attend a treatment center according to a set schedule.

These programs are often best for people who do not have severe symptoms or medical complications and have a good support system.

The right type of outpatient recovery program will vary based on symptoms, needs, and goals. Your healthcare provider can help you navigate the options and help you to decide which one is the best for you.

Luxury and Executive Facilities

Luxury and executive treatment facilities for bulimia and other eating disorders are similar to other residential treatment programs. The person lives at the facility, and there is 24/7 medical supervision and support.

However, these facilities provide extra amenities and features for working professionals. Some facilities offer spas, yoga, or horseback riding. These programs are much more expensive than others and not always covered by insurance.

Therapies for Bulimia

woman with nutritionistThe below list includes possible therapeutic approaches that your healthcare provider may recommend. Therapy can be done in a variety of settings, including residential bulimia rehab centers or outpatient therapeutic care and support.

If you need help finding a bulimia treatment center, contact a recovery support advisor at .

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and/or mood stabilizers can help treat both the eating disorder and any co-occurring mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. 6 Medications are usually combined with some form of therapy.

Support Groups and 12-Step Programs

Similar to the 12-step programs developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), these groups allow people to share their stories and experiences of recovery to help others. Some people use these groups as their primary form of treatment, while others use them as a form of follow-up care after completing an inpatient treatment program.

Some groups have a relatively spiritual outlook on addiction recovery. However, there are rarely any formal religious affiliations or requirements for participants to be religious.

Many groups will encourage the selection of a program sponsor. Sponsors are recovering individuals with wisdom and experience to share with those newer to the program than they are.

Support groups across the country focus on eating disorders, and some specifically focus on bulimia. Check with each group to see if one exists in your area.

How to Find the Best Bulimia Treatment Centers

If you or someone you know is suffering from bulimia, please call us today at .

You will be connected to a 100% confidential and free helpline with trained, caring advisors who can help guide you through the best treatment options for bulimia available in your area. Suffering from depression? Don’t suffer in silence. Take our free depression quiz online now.

Read next: Where to Get Help for Bulimia


[1]. Hay, P. J., & Claudino, A. M. (2010). Bulimia nervosa. BMJ Clinical Evidence, 1009.

[2]. Murphy, R., Straebler, S., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (2010). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 611–627.

[3]. Mitchell, J. E., Agras, S. and Wonderlich, S. (2007), Treatment of bulimia nervosa: Where are we and where are we going? Int. J. Eat. Disord., 40: 95–101.

[4]. Lock, J., & La Via, M. C. (2015). Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Eating Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(5), 412-425.

[5]. Lock, J. and le Grange, D. (2005), Family-based treatment of eating disorders. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 37: S64–S67.

[6]. National Institutes of Mental Health. (2016). Eating Disorders.

[7]. Gorla, K., & Mathews, M. (2005). Pharmacological Treatment of Eating Disorders. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 2(6), 43–48.

[8]. Hoste, R.R., Labuschagne, Z. & Le Grange, D. (2012). Adolescent Bulimia Nervosa. Curr Psychiatry Rep 14: 391.

[9]. Arbaizar, B., Gómez-Acebo, I., & Llorca, J. (2008). Efficacy of topiramate in bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder: a systematic review. General hospital psychiatry, 30(5), 471-475.