Main menu

Last Updated on : 05th Oct, 2015

Additional Sponsors:

Bulimia Nervosa

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Adolescents suffering from bulimia nervosa (BN) perform repeated episodes of "binging" (i.e., consuming unusually large amounts of food) at least twice a week for three months or longer. These binging behaviors are accompanied by a sense of the eating being out of control and are coupled with extreme compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative/diuretic abuse, fasting, or excessive exercise.

Common features of BN include secrecy about these behaviors due to marked feelings of shame and guilt. As a result, parents and peers are often unaware of the disordered eating and these individuals suffer from BN for an average of 6 years before receiving treatment. Unlike those suffering from anorexia nervosa, adolescents with BN are typically in the average weight range and do not appear to be at increased risk for mortality. However, many serious medical conditions can occur among individuals who are engaging in frequent binge eating and compensatory behaviors. For example, heart problems due to electrolyte abnormalities may develop as the result of frequent purging and laxative abuse can cause lasting colon damage.

As can be seen below, ​no treatments meet criteria for Works Well or Works. Two treatments, ​cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy​-behavioral​ ​are in the Might Work category for adolescents with bulimia nervosa.

Adolescent Bulimia Nervosa (BN)

Works Well
What does this mean?
  • None
What does this mean?
  • None
Might Work
What does this mean?
  • Family Therapy - Behavioral
  • CBT (Guided Self-Help / Individual)
What does this mean?
  • CBT (Individual)
  • Supportive Psychotherapy (Individual)
Does not Work
What does this mean?
  • None

Source: Lock, J. (2015). An Update on Evidence-Based Psychosocial Treatments for Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology , 44(5), 707–721.


^ Back to Top