American Scientists Offer New Bulimia Cure

Dealing with bulimia means dealing with emotions, new study reveals

By on November 19th, 2012 08:20 GMT

A group of scientists from the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (NRI), North Dakota have developed a new treatment for the now largely spread bulimia nervosa.

The new therapy is a rather psychological than physiological one, being based on the understanding of the link between the emotional life of bulimia affected people and their attitude toward eating.

“Our treatment is basically saying that we think that emotional processes--feeling badly--are very important in triggering bulimic behaviors. People actually engage in the bulimic behaviors because they feel better momentarily,” says Stephen Wonderlich, director of Clinical Research at the NRI.

The research was a complex and long-lasting one. 80 people's treatment has been observed in over a decade at NRI and at the University of Minnesota's Department of Psychiatry.

“Basically, what we're trying to do is get people to eat differently,” declares Wonderlich, as cited by Science Daily.

“Now we will use cell phones or smart phones,” he goes on explaining. “Basically, we're asking patients to report how they feel and observe the increase in negative emotions leading up to the behavior; what we want to know is what are things that make people feel badly, and then help them recognize that, and change their responses to those negative emotions.”

The result they obtained is fairly comparative in efficiency with the treatment developed years ago by Professor Chris Fairburn at Oxford University, “which is the most scientifically supported treatment available for adult individuals with bulimia nervosa,” according to Wonderlich.

Bulimia nervosa has been an increasingly spread disease for the past years. Based on an eating disorder, it consists of an exaggerated consumption of food, followed by one's taking measures such as vomiting, taking a laxative or diuretic, in an attempt to eliminate the huge amount of ingurgitated food.

Bulimia is nine times more likely to happen to women than to men, and it is generally accompanied by serious emotional problems, such a lack of self-respect and of a healthy social behavior.

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