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Should friends and family be involved in treatment?

Support from family and friends can be an important part of therapy and recovery. In fact, some psychotherapeutic approaches involve these people in certain aspects of treatment such as counseling sessions or training on how to be supportive at mealtimes and in other social and family settings. It all depends on the patient's situation. Assessing whether and how family dynamics contribute to the situation can be a sensitive situation, but is worth considering for the patient's benefit. Figuring this out requires consulting with a mental healthcare professional who can appropriately assess the situation and make recommendations about what to do. If family dynamics are a significant part of the problem, family members may need to participate in therapy separately from the patient as well as with the patient. In some situations, a patient may not wish to have certain family members involved if the patient felt he or she was abused by that family member.

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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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