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Options when benefits and appeals are exhausted

If benefits and appeals have been exhausted, and the patient needs more treatment, some options remain. Patients can try to obtain treatment at low or no cost through community or state mental health clinics, university hospitals and medical schools doing research, or university psychiatric programs. If the patient is a student at a university, the university may have a free clinic that offers a psychological counseling center with services for eating disorders. Medicaid may also be an option if the patient qualifies. These programs may offer financially subsidized treatment.

Clinical trials are another option. ECRI identified four databases that list ongoing trials related to eating disorders: the Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) database of federally funded biomedical research projects conducted at universities, hospitals, and other research institutions; the National Eating Disorders Association www.nationaleatingdisorders.org; the federal government clinical trials registry at www.ClinicalTrials.gov; and the MetaRegister of controlled trials www.controlled-trials.com; These sites listed many ongoing studies of bulimia nervosa.

Some private foundations also may offer financial assistance for treatment. For example, one organization, A Chance to Heal, based in southeastern Pennsylvania (www.achancetoheal.org) was established to provide financial assistance to individuals with eating disorders who might not otherwise receive treatment or reach full recovery due to their financial circumstances. The organization’s mission also focuses on increasing public awareness and education about eating disorders and advocating for change to improve access to quality care for eating disorders.

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Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person engages in binge eating (eating a lot of food in a short time) followed by some type of behavior to prevent weight gain from the food that was eaten. This behavior can take two forms: self-induced vomiting, misuse of enemas, laxatives, diet pills (called purging) and excessive exercise, fasting, or diabetic omission of insulin (called non-purging). Some people with bulimia nervosa may also starve themselves for periods of time before binge eating again. Bulimia nervosa has important mental, emotional, and physical aspects that require consideration during treatment.

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