The purpose of bulimia diagnosis and treatment is to help you acknowledge and accept the disorder itself and find the root cause of bulimia to eradicate it from your life. 

Do you feel guilt-ridden and disgusted after eating a pint of chocolate ice cream and a huge bag of chips? Do you feel like purging would solve all your problems and drain away all the extra calories? 

“Bulimia became a sort of coping mechanism for me. It ended up not being so much about food as it did about control,” said Ashley Marcin, a recovered bulimic. 

This shows that the dangers of bulimia are not only physical but are also psychological. 

After the diagnosis, an initial step in the treatment of bulimia is the stabilization of eating patterns if your physical health is not affected. With the assistance of therapies and certain medications, patients with bulimia can be awarded a chance to live life to their fullest. 

However, if left untreated, bulimia can become life-changing. 

So, how to diagnose bulimia? What is the treatment for bulimia? How can therapies help patients? 

Let’s check it out! 

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Before a bulimia treatment plan can be devised for you, it is exceptionally important to confirm the diagnosis of bulimia. 

You see, bulimia is often confused with a binge eating disorder. This is because the only difference between the two of them is concerned with the purging behavior, which is only found in bulimic individuals. 

Gladly, there are two separate diagnostic criteria for bulimia and binge eating disorder. This factor makes it particularly easy to acquire a bulimia diagnosis. 

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Now, the question is, “What is the first step in the diagnosis of bulimia?” 

Well, after observing the typical symptoms of bulimia, your psychologist will conduct an in-depth evaluation. 

During the evaluation, you will be asked about your eating patterns – how much you prefer to eat, what is the extent of control that you have on your eating behavior, what kind of food do you desire, do you feel horrified at the mere thought of consuming a high amount of calories and still fail to prevent yourself from going overboard, so on and so forth. 

Similarly, you might also be assessed on the basis of your sleeping schedule, exercise habits, etc.

If you comply with the following criteria as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), you will be diagnosed with bulimia nervosa:

  • Binge eating: There are two characteristics of bulimia-derived binging that must be observed. First, eating impossibly large amounts of food in a short period of time as compared to most other individuals. 

Second, being unable to control your hand from reaching out for the food as you continue to binge for longer durations. Recurrent episodes of the same situation signify the presence of bulimia nervosa. 

  • Inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain/ compulsive purging behavior: Forced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, fasting, and intensive exercise are some examples of the typical purging behavior. 
  • Both the aforementioned behaviors occur, on average, once a week in three-four months at least. 
  • The patient is overly critical of their body weight, shape, and size. 

Note: If the aforementioned diagnostic criteria have been satisfied, the patient is most likely suffering from bulimia nervosa. 

You see, the first characteristic of bulimia nervosa is also a factor of binge eating disorder. Without the presence of forced vomiting, abusing laxatives, etc. the person would be diagnosed with binge eating disorder. 

Once your psychological evaluation has been conducted, your doctor will further prepare a few tests for further affirmation of bulimia diagnosis. 

Why so, you ask? Well, this is so that your doctor can eliminate all the life-threatening causes that can cause weight gain or weight loss. 

Moreover, bulimia can cause several physical complications. Diagnostic tests will enable your physician to determine where the priority of your personalized bulimia treatment plan should lie. 

Following are the additional diagnostic tests:

  • Physical Exam: Your doctor will measure your height and weight; your vital signs, like heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and so on; your skin and nails to note any signs of calcium or iron deficiency. Your abdomen will be examined. 
  • Lab Tests: For urine analysis and a Complete Blood Count (CBC), hormonal work-up, liver function test, kidney function test, and thyroid, your urine and blood might be collected. 
  • Additional Tests: An Electrocardiogram (ECG) will be used to identify any discrepancies in your cardiac function. X-rays will be conducted to check your body density, stress fractures, etc. 

Now, once your physical condition has been judged, your treatment plan for bulimia will be established. 

Given that you do not suffer from any physical long-term side effects of bulimia; your doctor will approve your condition for therapy so that your initial step in the treatment process can be taken to establish sustainable eating patterns for you. 

In such a situation, any additional short-term, minor side effect of bulimia can be treated side-by-side. 

However, if your physical condition has been affected; if your cardiac function shows irregularities; if your respiratory rate is depressed; or if your bones are fragile, the initial step in the treatment of bulimia will be to treat your physical afflictions. Only then you can attend bulimia therapies.

When it comes to the treatment of bulimia, there are only two options: Therapies for Bulimics and medications. But, there is one thing that you should, at all costs, keep in mind: 

Drugs for bulimia are not a solution or a long-term treatment. They can merely “aid” therapy! 

So, before you plan to opt for self-treatment with drugs for bulimia, think again.

Logically speaking, however, your bulimia treatment plan can consist of therapies and medication management. 

As far as bulimia nervosa treatment guidelines are concerned, there are different approaches and programs for all ages. Remember, before proceeding with the treatment, the patients should become familiar with the idea that therapy is not a substitute for weight loss. 

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Guidelines for Adults

For treating bulimia nervosa in adults, the first option should be self-help programs. As per the guidelines, the program for adults should:

  • Include self-help materials in accordance with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Brief supportive sessions must be conducted over the span of 4 weeks.  

Now, if the self-help program proves to be ineffective after 4 weeks, the patient should be allowed to undergo individual Bulimia-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and any other necessary treatment options. 

Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

If children and adolescents have been diagnosed with bulimia, first of all, they should undergo family therapy because most of the time, family dynamics and interpersonal relationships are held accountable for bulimia. 

If family therapy for bulimia nervosa does not provide effective outcomes, the patients should be allowed to undergo Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for bulimia nervosa (CBT-BN).

Psychotherapy has special benefits when it comes to the treatment of bulimia nervosa. Because they can target the root cause of bulimia in adults, as well as children, they have proven effective across a range of cases. 

There are three main types of psychotherapies for bulimics:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  2. Family-Based Therapy (FBT) 
  3. Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

You see, the goal of each therapy for bulimia nervosa treatment is different. While Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy for bulimia are talk therapies, Family-Based Therapy is a bulimia counseling approach. 

Depending on the age of the bulimic individual, different types of therapies can be incorporated into the bulimia treatment plan. 

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A variety of combinations can be used for effective and personalized treatment. However, the best therapy for bulimia nervosa is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Treatment of Bulimia

As per the pivotal principle of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it is our thoughts that metamorphose directly into our behaviors. 

So, how to deal with bulimia with the assistance of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? 

In the case of bulimia nervosa, a minor self-destructive thought due to stress can lead to a vast number of binging episodes. On the other hand, the mind-numbing feeling of guilt and depression after recurrent binges can lead to purging behavior. 

Can you see the undeniable correlation that exists between the mind and the body? 

This correlation is exactly what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy targets. Overall, the purpose of including this therapy for bulimia into the treatment plan is to ensure that the following core features of bulimia are plucked out from the very root:

  • Binge episodes
  • Compensatory behaviors
  • Excessive exercise 
  • Obsession with body weight and shape

In this regard, you should acknowledge one main thing: CBT for bulimia nervosa only aims to recognize how the aforementioned features present themselves as you leap into a cycle of bulimic episodes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will not focus on the reason as to why the typical characteristics of bulimia developed in the first place. 

Twenty sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will encompass the following phases:

  1. Phase I – This “psychoeducational” phase will enable the patient to recognize every factor that contributes to binge eating, purging, dieting, and exercising due to bulimia nervosa. The patient also develops sustainable eating habits and a schedule to monitor weight without being critical or judgemental. 
  1. Phase II – During this phase, the focus of the therapist and the patient will shift towards undermining the concerns about body weight and shape. 
  1. Phase III – Lastly, the patient and the therapist will collaboratively develop ways to cope up with any temptation to binge, purge, over-exercise, or obsess over body shape. This is the stage that leads to relapse prevention in the future. 

Being an evidence-based approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be provided individually, as well as in a group setting. 

Moreover, it is suitable for children, adolescents, and adults. So, when it comes to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for treating bulimia, the possibilities are endless and the outcomes are robust. 

Long story short, CBT can modify negative thought patterns and supplement positive behaviors which make the patient drift away from the classic binge and purge cycle. 

Family-Based Therapy for Treating Bulimia

Family-Based Therapy is an outpatient bulimia intervention. But, it can also be used at an inpatient treatment center if family visits are allowed. 

Additional to this, FBT is ideal for children and adolescents. It is unsuitable for adults because of the extent of autonomy that they have over their lives. 

Now, how to control bulimia with FBT? 

Typically, Family-Based bulimia therapy continues for 20 sessions. These sessions account for the following stages:

  • Stage 1 – During the first stage, the family members – specifically parents – are held accountable to observe and prevent the self-destructive eating patterns of their child. 

Even as a collaborative approach, FBT requires parents to take charge, while their child has complete autonomy in every other subject of life (friends, school, gatherings, etc.) 

  • Stage 2 – This is a crucial stage. Once sustainable eating patterns have been established, the control over food consumption is returned to the patient. 
  • Stage 3 – This stage addresses any crucial deficits in the family dynamics that might have been influencing the binge and purge cycle of the bulimic child. 

Although a majority of approaches within this treatment for bulimia nervosa coincide with the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, there is one pivotal difference. And, what is that? 

You see Family-Based Therapy views parents as an effective resource that can be used to normalize the eating patterns that children often destruct. 

At the same time, parents can also offer the support and courage that no therapist can ever provide. 

Overall, FBT can be effective. Unfortunately, there are a few conditions. 

Firstly, Family-Based Therapy should be used in combination with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy if it does not prove effective on its own. Secondly, Family-Based Therapy should, ideally, be conducted at an outpatient bulimia nervosa treatment center because the sessions can last as long as 6 months. 

For people who require intensive bulimia inpatient treatment, Family-Based Therapy will hardly produce any outcomes. 

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Overcoming Bulimia

Unlike Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the purpose of Interpersonal Psychotherapy is to identify and acknowledge the interpersonal reasons that might have caused a patient to develop symptoms.

Note: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on the symptoms, not the process or the reasons for their development. 

So, how to fight bulimia with the weapons supplied by Interpersonal Psychotherapy? Let’s take a look. 

As per the guiding principle of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for bulimia, there are four areas that can aggravate the condition of the patient. These same four areas are targeted by this specific bulimia therapy.

  1. Interpersonal disputes – The problems that occur in relationships. 
  2. Role transition – An inability to function because of a major life transition. 
  3. Interpersonal deficits – The act of isolating yourself and feeling unloved. 
  4. Grief – Not acknowledging, understanding, or even accepting the grief that you might be experiencing. 

Now, Interpersonal Therapy believes that the aforementioned reason, interpersonal relationships, family dynamics, and life-altering situations can often lead to immense stress. Because of this stress, individuals resort to finding comfort in food. 

All in all, the first phase of Interpersonal Therapy will be dedicated to the analysis of your interpersonal problems. You will be asked to share every tidbit of your life with the therapist. 

The second phase of Interpersonal Psychotherapy will enable you to develop coping strategies to fight the interpersonal deficits or grief that you might be confronted with. 

The goal behind this phase is to eliminate the reason that you feel like you have no choice but to turn to food for consolation. 

Interpersonal Psychotherapy, in this manner, identifies the emotions that are sustaining your ability to indulge in a binge and purge cycle. 

Note: None of the IPT sessions will focus on the incessant obsession that the patient has with their body weight or size. In fact, all components that Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy addresses are excluded from Interpersonal Psychotherapy. 

Furthermore, Interpersonal Psychotherapy can address underlying depression that might be worsening the symptoms of bulimia. 

The only Food and Drug Administration-approved medication for the treatment of bulimia nervosa is Fluoxetine (Prozac). 

You see, Fluoxetine belongs to a group of stimulant drugs called antidepressants. As the name indicates, this drug for bulimia is mainly used to treat depression. 

Prozac as a drug for bulimia belongs to a subgroup of antidepressants called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). 

Generally, Prozac is used to treat depression by sustaining the quantity of Serotonin within the brain since it is the neurotransmitter responsible for maintaining the happiness and the general well-being of an individual. 

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How Prozac works for bulimia nervosa is unclear. However, according to some researchers, SSRIs can help re-establish the damaged serotonin-dependent messenger system of the brain. 

By doing so, they can reduce the binging habits, purging behaviors, and the psychological incentive to remain thin. Moreover, they can also treat an underlying cause of depression and anxiety. 

Note: Prozac as a drug for bulimia is prescribed at a standard dosage of 60 mg, which is 3 times higher than the normal dosage for depression treatment (20 mg). 

It might sound satisfactory that bulimia can be treated with an antidepressant. But, remember that without therapies, medications cannot provide any benefit. 

Instead, Prozac itself has a myriad of side effects, including (but not limited to):

  • Blurred vision, tunnel vision
  • Irregular heartbeats, tachycardia, shortness of breath, dizziness. 
  • Low levels of sodium, low blood pressure. 
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rigid muscles
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight changes
  • Suicidal thoughts

And, the list goes on! Nonetheless, if you happen to observe any of the aforementioned side effects, seek immediate medical attention. 

Overcoming bulimia is not an easy quest. It requires effort, time, and investment. At this point, if you are wondering how to control bulimia, the thought of taking merely one prescription medication for the treatment – instead of several sessions of therapies – might sound fairly appealing. 

But, we insist that you think again. 

You see, drugs for bulimia are an easy way out. But, they will always come back to haunt you. Therapies, on the other hand, are the ideal treatments for bulimia nervosa

First off, each therapy focuses on different aspects of your bulimic disorder. 

  • CBT as a bulimia nervosa therapy removes your need to comply with the symptoms of bulimia by guiding you to develop coping mechanisms. 
  • FBT as a therapy for bulimics acknowledges the potential of the family’s role in overcoming bulimia. 
  • IPT as a bulimia cure addresses any past interpersonal difficulties that might have accumulated to present as your eating disorder. 

For this vital reason, bulimia therapies have the ability to remove the root cause of bulimia, while also treating the symptoms of the disorder. 

Conversely, what do drugs for bulimia do? They obscure your symptoms; they hide the cause, and they barely treat anything. 

Secondly, therapies have the potential to identify your triggers for binging. Opposite to that, medications do not prove fruitful in such a scenario.  

Thirdly, medications like Prozac have disastrous side effects that can culminate into a myriad of physical and neurological afflictions. Who knows what you might get yourself into if you do not acquire professional medication management? 

Last but not the least, Prozac, an FDA-approved drug for bulimia, is a stimulant. This implies that it has addiction potential. 

People suffering from bulimia who tend to use Prozac begin to view the medication as a coping instrument. 

Before they know it, their focus on food will be lifted as they resort to Fluoxetine to cope up with their stress. Given this, abuse and dependence on the drug follow. 

Therefore, it is suitable to equate that Prozac can cause you to develop an addiction if you ever so slightly misuse it. 

So, what is the verdict? 

Simply put, medications are a horror story. Therapeutic bulimia interventions are the way to go for effective bulimia nervosa treatment. 

Treating bulimia with therapeutic interventions is undeniably effective. However, there are a few alternative treatments that can be used to enhance the robustness of the outcomes. 

The purpose of alternative treatment is also to serve as long-term coping strategies that bulimic individuals can approach to prevent relapses. 

They are management techniques to lower the impact of stress, anxiety, depression, and the overall compulsive feelings concerned with bulimia nervosa. 

Alternative treatments options for bulimia are:

  1. Body Awareness Therapy: Even though the name is sufficient to describe the purpose, Body Awareness Therapy is concerned with developing a sense of familiarity with your body. 

People who suffer from bulimia often feel disgusted and ungrateful when they view their bodies. With the assistance of Body Awareness Therapy, however, they can learn to appreciate everything that their bodies do for them. 

In the process, they can also overcome bulimia-associated thoughts and distress that cause them to fall prey to the binge and purge cycle. 

  1. Yoga and Meditation: Yoga for bulimia is a way to understand how your body movements correlate with a peaceful mind. 

It can also lead to clearer thinking. The slow movements that are practiced during yoga, when combined with meditation, can lower stress and anxiety levels that bulimia often gives rise to. 

  1. Acupuncture: Being the most successful type of Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used as a solution for a range of mental health disorders. For bulimia treatment, thin pinpoint needles are inserted at different locations on the skin. 

The disciplined process of needle insertion leads to stress release and a decline in the symptoms of bulimia. 

In several cases, alternative treatments at bulimia inpatient treatment centers often teach stress management and relaxation techniques through progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and biofeedback. 

Additionally, it is fairly common for people to opt for weight loss herbs and over-the-counter supplements to include in the diet. 

However, keep in mind that herbal and dietary supplements do not require to be approved by the FDA. This serves to state that supplements are not always safe. They can be harmful and lead to different drug interactions. 

Consult with your physician before you resort to potentially harmful alternative treatments. 

Inpatient treatment for bulimia nervosa is a program that requires you to live at a facility that provides effective treatment and long-term relapse prevention strategies. 

For bulimia nervosa treatment, the aim of inpatient rehabs is to cut you off from the triggers that happen to aggravate the extent and severity of your disorder. 

To do so, an inpatient bulimia nervosa treatment center will fabricate an effective bulimia treatment plan to follow. A structured and optimized treatment plan consists of regular therapies and medications management if needed. 

If the condition of your loved ones is worsening day after another, it might be time to opt for bulimia inpatient treatment

Here’s what you can expect at an inpatient bulimia nervosa recovery center:

  • 24/7 medical assessment and professional monitoring.
  • Supervised meals and snacks.
  • Supervision after you have eaten to ensure that you do not engage in purging behavior.
  • Scheduled individual, group, and family therapies. 
  • Medical bulimia interventions like NG tubes, complete bed rest, etc. 
  • Weight monitoring.

To acquire inpatient treatment for bulimia nervosa you have to fulfill a couple of requirements and conditions. First off, if you have lost weight rapidly due to the purging behavior, consequently causing you to develop organ failure, inpatient hospitalization should be your first choice. 

Secondly, if outpatient treatment of bulimia does not prove adequately beneficial for you, an inpatient rehabilitation center will suffice. 

Thirdly, if you suffer from an addiction or another co-existing mental health disorder, an inpatient bulimia nervosa diagnosis and treatment center will help you get rid of all your mental illness in an integrated manner. 

Have your loved ones fall into a deep abyss due to a disruptive, vicious circle of bulimia nervosa? 

If yes, we are here to provide you with the best outcome-based approach that can help them recover from their mental health disorder within 2-3 months. 

At our luxury, inpatient treatment and therapy center for bulimia nervosa, your loved ones can gather the courage that they need to fight off bulimia. 

Our 5-star, celebrity treatment facilities can provide them with the comfort that their mental health does not let them experience. 

The best bulimia treatment center is at your service! 

Unlike traditional inpatient bulimia nervosa treatment centers, a luxury rehabilitation facility offers personalized treatment. This implies that each bulimia treatment plan will be tailored to the needs of the client.

The purpose of this is to increase the efficacy, longevity, and permanence of outcomes by providing the patients with exactly what their bulimic disorder calls for. 

Moreover, at a private rehab, bulimic meal plans are established under the guidance of nutritionists and dieticians to guarantee that the body of the patient does not remain deprived of any nutrients. 

To expand on this, when it comes to the treatment of eating disorders, private rehabs offer higher success rates (80-90%) than traditional inpatient rehabs for bulimia nervosa (20%)

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Overall, luxury inpatient treatment for bulimia eating disorder will be the best choice that you can make if you desire effective treatment, complete recovery, and a myriad of comfortable amenities like:

  • A private villa for every client
  • A pool
  • A big garden
  • Private chef
  • Driver
  • personal and regular housekeeping

The holistic and alternative treatments offered at luxury inpatient bulimia nervosa treatment facilities cannot be exploited at traditional inpatient rehabs. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Art and Music Therapy
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage Therapy
  • Equine Therapy
  • Animal-assisted Therapy
  • Adventure Therapy
  • Physical Therapy 

Our luxury, high-end treatment center for bulimia nervosa can reward you with the aforementioned facilities and holistic treatments, along with a personalized bulimia treatment plan. 

As per bulimia nervosa prognosis, half of the people who undergo effective treatments recover completely, 30% of the people only showcase partial recovery, while 10-20% continue to face the disastrous impacts of bulimia. 

The question is, what can you do to enhance the efficacy of the treatment? How is it that you can become a part of one half of the population that does not relapse? 

Simply speaking, there are a few lifestyle changes and modifications that you can integrate in order to survive a life-altering eating disorder like bulimia. 

The following easy tips can help you go a long way to keep exploiting the long-term benefits of bulimia nervosa therapies:

  • Stay educated about your disorder: There are continuous pieces of research about bulimia nervosa being released. The findings of these researches can help you acquire different ways of alternative treatment. 

Being familiar with the symptoms of bulimia, the triggers, and the cycles that follow them can help you stay at the top of your game while you combat your eating disorder. 

  • Bulimic meal plans: A nutritious meal plan is your key to battle the temptation to binge. Talk to your dietician and collaboratively devise a bulimic meal plan that includes just the right amounts of fats, proteins, carbs, dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. If your nutritionist prefers, you can also opt for dietary supplements. 
  • Seek active support: Remember, your bulimia can only bother you to an extent. If you acquire the support and strength that you deserve, there is no way that you will continue to have a toxic relationship with food. 

Meanwhile, also acknowledge that your loved ones have your best interests at heart. 

  • Learn to appreciate your body: Considering that you are fairly critical of your body, this might be the hardest lifestyle change for you. Learning to look at ourselves in a positive light is always kind of difficult, isn’t it? 

But, with the assistance of therapies and relaxation techniques, you can even begin to love every flaw that your body has. 

Do not obsess over your weight as long as it is moderately maintained. 

  • Manage your workouts: You see; bulimic individuals often go to great extents to make sure that they sweat out every calorie that they have consumed during their binging episode. 

Managing your exercise routines by working out in a healthy manner is important. 30 minutes of cardio or 40 minutes of low-intensity workout (5 days a week only) is perfectly healthy. 

Note: Consult your primary care provider to comprehend what kind of exercise routine is ideal for you. 

Now, let’s comprehend what we have acknowledged about bulimia diagnosis and treatment.

First of all, bulimia diagnosis is important. This is because the “binge cycle” of bulimia coincides with the symptoms of binge eating disorder. 

Differentiating between the two and affirming the diagnosis for bulimia is exceptionally crucial. Why? Well, because diagnosis is the key to bulimia treatment. 

Secondly, there are two treatment options for bulimia nervosa: Therapies and medications. But, to be fair, the second option is dependent on the first. 

This is because relying on prescription drugs for bulimia treatment alone can deprive the patients of the opportunity to hone their skills and coping strategies to fight bulimia nervosa. 

Whether it is through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family-Based Therapy, or Interpersonal Psychotherapy, bulimia nervosa can be treated. 

We understand that bulimia nervosa is a bottomless pit of chaos. It affects the mind and the body alike. 

However, at the best inpatient and luxury treatment center for bulimia nervosa, we vow to grant you an opportunity to rise from the abyss that has overwhelmed your life with darkness for years without any end. 

The professional medical staff at our private rehab is here to fulfill all possible needs that you have. 

Become a renegade and fight off bulimia nervosa by reaching out to us today! 

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