Bulimia Nervosa

autumn-creekThis eating disorder involves frequent episodes of binge eating, almost always followed by purging and intense feelings of guilt or shame. The individual feels out of control and recognizes that the behavior is not normal.

Bulimia commonly begins in the late teens or early twenties over concerns about weight and body image. Bulimia can quickly escalate to behaviors used to gain control over troubling emotions. This is one of the most common eating disorders and seeking the proper counseling in Austin can help a person gain a healthier lifestyle.

Eating Disorders | Bulimia Danger Signals

  • Binge eating or eating uncontrollably
  • Purging by strict dieting, fasting, vigorous exercise, vomiting or abusing laxatives or diuretics in an attempt to lose weight
  • Using the bathroom frequently after meals; using sound to mask behavior
  • Preoccupation with body weight
  • Depression or mood swings, irritability, anxiety or depression relieved by purging
  • Changes in regularity of menstrual periods
  • Developing dental problems, swollen cheeks and glands, heartburn and/or bloating
  • Experiencing personal or family problems with alcohol or drugs
  • Excessive and/or underage use of alcohol; use of recreational drugs

Cognitive Therapy May Normalize Brain Abnormalities in Bulimia

By Karla Gale

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women with bulimia nervosa have altered opioid receptor binding in their brains compared with healthy women, the results of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging study demonstrate. However, treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling¬† appears to normalize the brain chemistry, according to study findings presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto in 2005.

Dr. James Frost, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and his team performed PET scanning on brains of 13 women with bulimia and 8 female controls, repeating the scanning in the bulimic patients after they underwent 12 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Results were presented by Dr. Peter Herscovitch, a vice chair of the Society’s Scientific Program Committee and chief of the PET imaging section at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Prior to cognitive behavioral therapy, opiate receptor binding was lower in patients than controls in the prefrontal cortex, the cingulate cortex and insular cortex, Dr. Herscovitch told Reuters Health.

“The areas of the brain that were involved are also involved in positive emotions in the rewards system of the brain,” he noted. “There was a correlation between the degree of receptor abnormality and the severity of symptoms of binging and vomiting, their urges to do so, and their bodily preoccupation.”

After treatment, increases were observed in the prefrontal and cingulate cortex and in the temporal cortex.

“If you want to treat a disease, the first step should be understanding of the underlying physiology and biochemistry that’s abnormal in the disease. Then the next step is to use that information to decide on therapy,” Dr. Herscovitch said. PET scanning offers the opportunity to do both.

Source: This Reuters article was posted on Medscape Medical News Jun 21, 2005.

For Your Austin Counseling Convenience

For more information, please call (512) 306-9992, or send an email to annkmcintosh@gmail.com. All inquiries are held in strict confidence. Please understand that no counseling will be provided via the Internet or e-mail. Working with you in person is the best way to help you achieve your goals.

Daytime and selected early-evening sessions are available, Tuesday through Thursday 10:00am to 6:30pm. You may choose from three types of sessions: individual, couples, and family. Please feel free to ask about other possibilities to fit your lifestyle and needs.

Ann McIntosh, MA, LCSW, Counseling and Psychotherapy

4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 5, Suite 513
Austin, Texas 78746


Video produced by Michael Quick of QuickOne Media Ann McIntosh is also listed on the following Web site directories: Psychology Today | YellowPages.com | Eating Disorder Referral and Information Service

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