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 Bulimia Resource Guide Summary
 Bulimia Nervosa Resource Guide for Family and Friends
 Maximizing Health Insurance Benefits to Pay for Bulimia Treatment
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How can friends and family be supportive?
Don't put timetables on recovery. Every patient progresses at his or her own speed. Be patient with therapy, finding the right medication, and the process of the entire treatment plan.

When a person is being treated for bulimia nervosa, the best thing a trusted family member, partner, or friend can do is to be supportive. See the checklists of "dos" and "don'ts" for being supportive. Knowing how to best support the patient can be difficult if family members and friends have their own issues with the patient, feel awkward, or don't know how to act around the person with bulimia nervosa. Family members should strive to be open about their feelings and maintain open communication with the person with bulimia nervosa. Family therapy can provide a safe forum to bring issues for open discussion, counsel, and ultimate resolution. Certain family members may also discover through this process that they would benefit from individual counseling to heal a relationship with the patient. It's important to remember that family members cannot force or speed treatment, and trying to exert control over the member with bulimia nervosa is almost never a good thing.

If a minor is seeking treatment and no help is available from the family, s/he should talk to an adult he or she knows and feels can be trusted—for example, a school guidance counselor, school nurse, teacher, coach, pastor, priest, other trusted relative or trusted adult friend. Youth helplines and Web sites may recommend a local help center. Some of these are listed in Additional Resources.

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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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