A recent December 2012 article in Counseling Today explores the difficulty of treating bulimia nervosa. The article discusses that patients often fail to realize that binging and purging the body afterwards is not merely driven by the perception of body image.

Instead, bulimic patients are attempting to respond to an unwanted emotional state that they never learned how to handle because they were taught that the emotion was socially unacceptable. However, those suffering from bulimia dissociate themselves from the emotional state by binging because they find food comforting. At some point, after binging their mental attitude calms down, but they recognize that it is also unacceptable to binge, so they attempt to correct the binging behavior by disgorging to reverse the damage.

Therapists and patients need to identify the emotional state that the bulimic individual believes is unacceptable. The bulimic patient must learn to deal with the emotional state instead of dissociating from it. Once the patient learns how to deal with the underlying emotions in a healthy manner, she will be able to heal without binging.

If you are suffering from bulimia, you may be unknowingly trying to comfort an unwanted emotion that you believe is unacceptable. Jessica Getson, a licensed therapist, in the Philadelphia Main Line can help you learn to cope with your emotional state without dissociating from it or binging.

For more information about bulimic dissociation, see Understanding Bulimic Dissociation to Create New Pathways for Change. Comment and share your thoughts.