Medical Nutrition Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope

Bulimia nervosa is a complex psychiatric illness that impacts an individual on multiple levels. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of binging on large amounts of food in a short period of time and engaging in compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or laxative use.

Engaging in these types of behaviors results in severe medical complications, including electrolyte abnormalities, cardiovascular complications, gastrointestinal issues, dehydration and more.

Intervening Early on Bulimia Symptoms to Prevent Damage

Early intervention with bulimia is critical to preventing long-term physical damage. Eating disorder specialists can serve as an important part of the recovery process from bulimia and assist in the treatment of the medical and nutritional complications that may have resulted.

Medical nutrition therapy is a specific form of treatment for bulimia that can assist an individual in the recovery process from this deadly disorder. Administered by a qualified Registered Dietitian, medical nutrition therapy is a therapeutic approach to treating bulimia and the associated symptoms via the use of a specifically tailored diet devised and monitored by a registered dietitian.

Getting Adequate Nutrition During Recovery

In the case of recovery from bulimia, a registered dietitian would prioritize adequate nourishment and replenishment of any nutrient losses in the body. Medical nutrition therapy would include a meal plan that offers sufficient calories, vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients and hydration for a person recovering from bulimia.

Only the freshest ingredients for this chefA registered dietitian would also consider any other medical complications that have resulted from bulimia, such as an electrolyte imbalance or dehydration, and tailor the nutrition plan to address these concerns.

Working with a Registered Dietitian

If you or a loved one is recovering from bulimia nervosa, consider working with a specialized registered dietitian as part of your treatment. Integrating medical nutrition therapy into your recovery can be a powerful tool for recovery and for healing from bulimia.

By following a meal plan that is tailored to your needs, you can begin to nourish your body adequately and possibly reverse signs of malnourishment that has resulted from bulimia. If you are working with a treatment team, you will likely have a registered dietitian as part of your support. Be sure to inquire about the process of medical nutrition therapy and how this may be appropriate for you.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have you worked with a Registered Dietitian in your recovery from bulimia? How did this help support your recovery journey?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 11th, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.