Bulimia nervosa is a psychological illness which is characterized by binging and purging. A person with bulimia may try to control their weight by severely restricting food intake, before binge eating and purging. In the UK approximately 1 in 100 women suffer from it.

The purging may be in the form of making themselves sick or the use of laxatives. Bulimia and other eating disorders, such as anorexia, may be associated with low self-esteem or depression.


Bulimia can be a distressing condition for sufferers and their families, but there is help available. If you think that you or a family member may have bulimia, or another food disorder, it is important that you seek professional advice.

Eating disorders can cause serious harm, both physically and mentally, so it is important that the condition is treated. Treatment for bulimia in the form of one to one counselling may be recommended. Those who find one to one counselling too intense or too expensive may prefer to attend a group session.

Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of treatment. Patients are asked to keep a record of how much they eat and when they purge. The aim of this is to identify and avoid emotional triggers.

There are websites that are specifically dedicated to providing information on eating disorders. You can find directories of therapists, treatment centres and support groups on these websites.

Hypnotherapy has also provided some positive outcomes for bulimia patients.

There are also online forums where you can discuss the condition with other patients. This may be a good place to get additional help and advice.

 In summary:
  • Bulimia is characterized by compulsive eating followed by purging
  • Treatment is available in the form of counselling
  • You can use online resources to find a specialist clinic