Bulimia nervosa treatment and recovery in Minnesota

Bulimia nervosa, also known as “bulimia,” involves binge eating followed by purging to offset weight gain. Binge eating is when someone eats a significantly larger amount of food than the average person would in a similar circumstance and amount of time. This is usually accompanied by a feeling of loss of control. Purging is throwing up, using laxatives, restricting or over-exercising to “make up” for eating.

If left untreated, bulimia can lead to serious health concerns like dehydration, tooth decay, ulcers or even heart failure. Thankfully, it’s possible to recover from bulimia and develop a healthy relationship with food, and we can help you.

Melrose Center has over 30 years of successfully treating eating disorders, including bulimia. Our team of experts includes licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, registered dietitians, medical doctors and other specialists. Our team collaborates to create an individualized treatment plan for all patients, tailored to their unique needs and symptoms. Together, we’ll work with you to help you heal physically, mentally and emotionally.

Symptoms of bulimia

It’s impossible to know if someone has bulimia just by looking at them. It affects each person a little differently, but there are some common symptoms to watch for. Common bulimia symptoms include:

Emotional and behavioral symptoms of bulimia
  • Anxiety about appearance
  • Constantly feeling out of control
  • Constantly preoccupied with food control
  • Eating in secret
  • Exercising too much to make up for eating
  • Fasting
  • Fear of being unable to stop eating
  • Hoarding food
  • Irregular eating, such as overeating, undereating or eating very quickly
  • Low self-esteem and depression
  • Vomiting or misusing laxatives, diuretics or diet pills
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
Physical symptoms of bulimia
  • Burst blood vessels in eyes
  • Dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium
  • Dry skin and dry, brittle hair
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and constipation
  • Swollen glands along the jaw and cheeks, puffiness around the face
  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Weight fluctuations from bingeing and purging, even though weight may be normal
Diagnosing bulimia

A diagnosis starts with an initial assessment at Melrose Center. During an initial assessment, you’ll meet with one of our licensed psychologists and/or a primary care clinician. We’ll talk to you about your symptoms, concerns, family history and questions. At the end of the session, we’ll determine your diagnosis and recommend a treatment program accordingly.

If you are diagnosed with bulimia, you’ll meet with one of our care managers. Our care managers are able to answer any of your questions about your recommended treatment and get you scheduled for your next appointments.

You can schedule an initial assessment by calling 952-993-6200.

Treating bulimia

Each person experiences bulimia differently, which means they respond to treatment differently. After your initial assessment, one of our psychologists or a medical doctor will recommend a treatment option that may work best for you. Your treatment plan may include:

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment means that you go to appointments at Melrose Center while still living at home. This type of treatment might include one-on-one sessions with a psychologist or registered dietitian, appointments with a medical doctor and/or psychiatrist, group sessions and guided meals. We offer outpatient treatment at all of our locations.

Residential treatment

For patients who need 24/7 expert care from our staff, we offer residential treatment. You’ll stay at Melrose Center in St. Louis Park while attending a combination of individual sessions with a therapist or registered dietitian, group programming, guided meals, family therapy and other recommended activities. We typically recommend residential treatment for patients with more severe cases of bulimia who will benefit from an environment dedicated to healing.

Intensive residential treatment

For people who need daily medical support in order to stabilize their health, we offer intensive residential treatment. During this treatment, you’ll stay at Melrose Center and have daily appointments with a medical doctor, multiple individual and group therapy sessions, support from registered dietitians, 24-hour nursing care and other support while you recover. The goal of intensive residential treatment is to improve your health so you’re able to transition to our residential program or outpatient care.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

You can call 952-993-6200 to make an appointment. We’ll help you make an appointment at the location of your choosing.

If you’re not sure if you or someone you love has bulimia, your first step is to schedule an initial assessment. During an initial assessment, you’ll talk to one of our licensed psychologists and/or a primary care clinician about your concerns, symptoms and questions. If you’re diagnosed with bulimia or another eating disorder during the assessment, one of our care managers will help you schedule your next appointments. Call 952-993-6200 to schedule an initial assessment.

If you think someone you love has bulimia, the best thing to do is talk to them about it. We know that bringing up something as sensitive as an eating disorder might make you uncomfortable. You might not know how to start the conversation or what to say once you do bring it up.

Try using these tips as a starting point to guide your conversation:

  • Do research about bulimia before the conversation and have resources available when you talk to your loved one.
  • Find a moment where you can have the conversation one-on-one to keep your loved one from feeling pressured or outnumbered.
  • Try not to be vague. Mention specific behaviors that concerned you.
  • Listen without judgment and speak calmly.
  • Suggest they speak to a doctor to find out if they do need professional support. Call 952-993-6200 to schedule an initial assessment.

If you’re unsure how to start the conversation, learn more about talking about eating disorders.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.

Our onsite financial counselors can work with you to confirm your insurance coverage at Melrose Center. You can speak to one of our dedicated financial counselors by calling 952-993-3453.