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Bulimia is an eating disorder characterised by binge-eating, vomiting and purging by sufferers making themselves sick, or abusing laxatives. Where this is done with the intention of controlling the body weight or appearance (e.g. A need to be thin) it is often termed bulimia nervosa. Following the vomiting or purging there is usually a feeling of guilt, self-condemnation and depression, the burden of which is added to by a desire for secrecy for the habit. Weight loss can be experienced but is not normally as severe as with anorexia nervosa. Another eating problem is known as Binge Eating Disorder (BED), similar to Bulimia but without the vomiting or purging. Weight gain is the problem here, along with the other negative emotions described above.
It is possible to treat anorexia with hypnosis, but this must be done in conjunction with medical support and very likely involve a residential element for monitoring and success. Another form of eating problem I have found in clients is an inability to eat in public, often connected with social anxiety or phobia. Other cases have involved rapid swallowing (not useful when drinking alcohol!) and an inability to swallow or fear of choking, which are very treatable.
My client was female, age 22 and she was working in the catering industry. She had ready access to food as a result. She was originally of Eastern European origin and when she arrived in the UK, she had to started to overeat as a form of comfort. Then she started to diet to compensate. This was relatively successful, but when she returned to her home country, her relatives and family felt she was too thin and gave her lots of food to compensate.
When she returned to the UK, she started to binge-eat and then thought of vomiting as a way of controlling the problem of becoming overweight. Her weight, which had increased to 75kg went down rapidly to 47kg. In the weeks before she saw me she had adjusted the bulimic habit to achieve her normal weight of around 57kg. Although initially she kept the habit secret she did eventually tell her boyfriend, who was fortunately supportive, although he could not understand what made her do it. She felt hypnosis would help and contacted me.
Her first session was a suggestion therapy one and following this she realised that the problem was mostly one of personal confidence, which was verified on the second session when she revisited her arrival in Scotland as a time of loneliness and uncertainty. Food represented a source of comfort which is why she had become overweight in the first place. By this time the bingeing and vomiting had been minimised - only 1 incidence.
On the third session we did some analytical hypnotherapy to give a better understanding of the parts of the mind causing the problem and how to resolve. She was still having an occasional “slip” but it was more under control and less severe. At the next session she learned how to do self-hypnosis to be self-repairing and to gain further insight and ability in overcoming the problem. During this session, she realised that she needed to get more exercise, to do more and think less and communicate problems to others who could help rather than bottling it all up and getting depressed and isolated.
On the final session, she had gained mastery over the bulimic behaviour and was feeling a lot better.
“The sessions made a lot of difference and helped me to overcome the problem”
This lady arrived on my doorstep with all the classic bulimia symptoms. The secrecy. The guilt and dread of acting out the bingeing and vomiting cycle. It had badly dented her confidence, which was already fairly weak. She was relatively young, in a foreign country and quite lonely. The bulimic behaviour started off as overeating, but itself became the problem rather than the solution. This is quite typical of bulimia generally - it seems to be the answer but quickly assumes a vice-like grip on the sufferer who then finds it very hard to escape from the cycle. So although she had made friends and had a boyfriend, the habit still had a hold on her even though she was becoming less isolated.
Through this series of sessions, she has made a full recovery and she has agreed to me monitoring her progress over a longer time scale to ensure the recovery is stable. She presented with the problem being around 6 on a 1-10 scale with 1 being “no problem” and 10 “very severe problem”. At the final session she felt her score had reduced to 1.5.
To illustrate what might cause bulimia to start a bit further, another client started when her mother and father separated and the bingeing and vomiting was an attempt to keep her appearance as slim which in turn was her really asking for some approval and self-esteem as the separation had badly affected her.
I realise that having bulimia or other form of eating disorder is a very difficult thing to reveal and so you might have read the above and think “that ticks all the boxes”, but find it hard to talk about it. So you need to approach the solution at your own pace and maybe read this again if you need to. Once you feel ready to start tackling the problem all you need to do is to call me on (01738) 561889 and you will know that the person you are talking to understands this very well and that just talking about it is the first step to clearing it out of your life.
You could also contact me using the email form and ask questions, which I’m quite happy to answer.