A counselor talks to a client as a part of her purging disorder treatment

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Understanding Purging Disorder

Women who have purging disorder will use pills or vomiting to purge the meals that they eat. Vomiting is the most common method, but some women use diuretics, enemas, or laxatives. Purging isn’t currently part of the official list of eating disorders. However, the DSM-5 classifies it as an OSFED, or other specified feeding or eating disorder.

Purging disorder has similar and different traits to anorexia and bulimia. Women with these conditions have an obsession with self-image and weight. They control what they eat or purge after overeating to meet impractical appearance and weight goals. Because of this behavior, they’re often underweight or overweight and suffer side effects from poor nutrition.

Compared to those with anorexia, though, women with purging disorder have a normal weight. Compared to those with bulimia, they don’t eat too much before they purge. They usually eat normal portions of food and purge even after eating just a small snack. They might feel full and like they’ve eaten an excessive amount.

In addition, women who have purging disorder have distorted reactions and perceptions of meal portions. They could feel like their eating habits are out of control even though they consume small amounts.

As with bulimia, however, there are numerous health risks from purging by vomiting. For instance, women can develop bone and gastrointestinal issues. Misusing laxatives can cause bowel dysfunction. Other risks include:

  • Dental issues
  • Imbalances in electrolytes that can cause heart attacks
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Rips in the esophagus
  • Swollen salivary glands

Purging Disorder Treatment Methods

There aren’t currently enough clinical studies to dictate a specific course of treatment for purging disorder. Since the condition has similarities with anorexia and bulimia, though, therapists use the same methods of care. Most of the time, they combine medications, nutrition counseling, and talk therapies in a residential eating disorder treatment program. The most important factor is that they design the treatments around each woman, using techniques that are appropriate.

The medications that doctors use during treatment don’t cure purging disorder. Instead, they may be prescriptions that treat co-occurring disorders anxiety or depression. These problems could be the causes or symptoms of the disorder. Doctors might also introduce supplements and vitamins to help women replenish the nutrients that their bodies need.
Learning about foods and the nutrients that they provide is a key element of purging disorder treatment. Nutrition therapy teaches women about how the disorder harms them and how foods make them healthy. Therapists help them develop meal plans that promote goals such as eating three meals a day without purging.
Another key component of purging disorder treatment includes talking about problems and changing behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular choice because it does both and has quick results. It helps women identify distorted thoughts that contribute to their unhealthy emotions and behaviors. By changing their thoughts about themselves and food, they can develop more positive behaviors and feelings.

Family therapy is also important during eating disorder treatment. It educates women and their families about the condition and how to support each other. Family counseling also helps them build closer bonds and addresses unresolved conflicts in the home.

Various therapy techniques also teach women coping and problem-solving skills during purging disorder treatment. They learn how to apply these skills in real-life situations and use them throughout their lives. Counseling can also treat co-occurring disorders through dual diagnosis treatment.

Are you looking for eating disorder treatment for your loved one? Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders provides a safe, therapeutic, home-like environment. We strive to promote healing throughout the treatment process so that your loved one can achieve recovery.

Along with treating eating disorders, Magnolia Creek offers dual diagnosis treatment to address co-occurring conditions. Some examples include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and trauma. In addition to purging disorder treatment, we also offer:

Don’t let your loved one continue to live with purging disorder. Ask Magnolia Creek about our purging disorder treatment services. Call us now at 205-509-2633.

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“Before entering Magnolia Creek, I felt like there wasn’t much future or hope for my life. Magnolia Creek taught and gave me tools so I can function and get my life back…They believed in me, and I learned to believe in myself.”

Former Magnolia Creek Client Magnolia - Flower

We are here to help you. Contact Us @ 205-409-4220 or send us an email.

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