What Kinds of Alternative Treatments Are There for Bulimia Nervosa?

What Kinds of Alternative Treatments Are There for Bulimia Nervosa?

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 1.0 percent of young women and 0.1 percent of young men will experience some form of bulimia nervosa in their lifetimes, most often in their early adulthood. People with this dangerous and sometimes fatal disorder enter traditional treatment programs quite often, but there are several alternative forms of therapy available as well. Here, we’ll break down some of these alternative forms of therapy that can be beneficial for treating bulimia nervosa, many of which can be included in a comprehensive bulimia nervosa treatment plan.

Yoga Therapy 

Yoga is a form of physical exercise that centers around slow, mindful, and calculated movements, focused breathing, and a sense of self-awareness. Because many eating disorders involve distorted feelings about movement and body image, yoga as part of a bulimia nervosa treatment plan can be a highly useful tool. Bulimia treatment centers have begun to include daily yoga sessions as bulimia treatment options for clients in addition to the more clinical talk therapy and medical treatment programs they’ve had for decades.

In a study of how yoga affected women, the participants saw noticeable improvements in:

  • Their body image
  • Their relationships with movement
  • Having a positive sense of well-being

People attending bulimia nervosa treatment centers tend to struggle excessive, non-mindful exercise practices, which can have a devastating effect on their overall health. By slowing down and helping them regulate their movements, yoga could be a powerful tool to help people overcome some of their struggles during treatment.

Meditation Therapy 

In some ways, you can compare yoga to a kind of “movement meditation.” However, less impactful meditation is also quite useful during eating disorder. For centuries, meditation has helped people achieve a calmer state of being in which they can achieve mental clarity, find renewed energy, and gain a new perspective on their personal issues. Meditation as part of bulimia therapy is beneficial because individuals often struggle with overcoming feelings of anxiety and stress that can trigger their eating disorder behaviors.

Body Awareness Therapy 

Body awareness therapy can come in many different forms, and it’s a central part of any modern bulimia nervosa treatment plan. Body awareness therapy helps people in recovery understand how their relationship with their body influences their emotions and psyche. Studies of body awareness therapy suggest that using this as a therapeutic tool during treatment for eating disorders could help people establish a more realistic body image, directly addressing the body dysmorphia (disordered self-image) so commonly associated with bulimia nervosa. Negative portrayals of the self-image in the mind can drive bulimic behaviors and thoughts, so through body awareness therapy, individuals are better capable of seeing their own bodies objectively.

Massage Therapy 

Various studies both medical and psychological have shown massage is beneficial for the body; it helps to relax the various parts of the muscular system and provides a serotonin release that calms the recipient. However, massage therapy can also be beneficial for the mind, so it is also a useful tool in a bulimia nervosa treatment plan. Massage can be used as part of bulimia nervosa therapy because it induces a calmer state, helps to override anxious thoughts, and encourages relaxation. Massage therapy has the ability to do things like lower stress hormones and increase dopamine levels, which can help an individual feel better on an emotional level and focus on getting well.

Wrapping Up

While medical and psychiatric treatments are necessary for a successful recovery, bulimia nervosa therapy should include several alternative bulimia treatment options, and methods, and the best treatment centers work to incorporate many alternative and traditional treatments in their plans. Recovery doesn’t have to be an ordeal – by including alternative treatments into a comprehensive continuum of care, it can become a positive, life-changing experience.  If you or a loved one has bulimia nervosa, don’t hesitate – reach out to a center that includes a variety of treatment types today.