Bulimia/Eating Disorders/Vomiting/body image

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QUESTION: Hello, I hope you're doing well. This may sound odd and im pretty embarrassed , i'm a male in my early twenties. For years ive engaged in on and off periods of very restrictive eating and excessive exercise.  My habits somewhat normalized for a while (maintained a weight of about 135, i'm 5'7) but after I got married I gained alot if weight, going to 165, and with much less time on my hands to exercise I began vomiting, in addition to restricting and exercising. I since lost about 25-27 lbs but I experience chest pains and excessive heart burn and I have limited vomiting but am having alot of trouble stopping unlessI eat very llittle throughout the day ( perhaps 750 calories comprised of very small meals) . Do you have any advice regarding stopping? I have a family to support and I do want to be mentally and physically healthy. Thanks so much for your time. Any advice would be highly appreciated. Best wishes.

ANSWER: Dear Steve,

I'm so glad that you wrote me!  You definitely have a raging eating disorder.  You were bulimic before you started vomiting by using excessive exercise.  

You sound as if you're in a good relationship and that your family is important to you.  I would suggest at this point that you see your doctor and get an EKG and blood work to see if you've had any physical damage.  Also it would be great if you could see a therapist that specializes in eating disorders.  Your eating disorder is quite advanced and will definitely begin to affect your health.

Could you tell me a little more about your situation?  Do you have health insurance?  Is seeing a therapist a possibility for you financially?  Let me know and we'll see what would be the best thing for you to do at this point!!

Warmly,
Jeannie Rust, PhD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your response. I do have health insurance.  I actually started seeing a therapist a little whole ago, about once a week but sometimes less. Even with her being generous enough to cut down her cost I am having a difficult time paying for it and I have not found it to be very helpful. Initially it helped a little but ive kind of been at the same place since I first started going. Because of that and the financial difficulties I am actually planning on stopping soon.

Answer
Unfortunately, Steve, most people can't get the amount of therapy they need. Once a week is no where near enough.  See if there's an intensive outpatient program in your town.  It's usually 3 times a week -- an evening session.  Otherwise, if you keep on getting worse, you'll need to go to in-patient or residential.

I had a young woman who signed up for Mirasol's intensive outpatient program 2 weeks ago.  She was a bulimic/anorexic.  Before she made it to even one group, she died.  Suddenly.  Please see your doctor.  Find out about your health and see about that Outpatient program -- insurance might cover all of that!!  You won't get well without it!

Bulimia/Eating Disorders

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Jeanne Rust, PhD

Expertise

I have been treating eating disorders for over 25 years and I have a doctorate in clinical psychology. I am an expert in anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders and in co-occurring disorders as well -- depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. I was the official eating disorder therapist for the University of Arizona athletic department and love working with girls and women of all ages! 12 years ago I started my own treatment centers in Arizona where we treat adolescents and adults. I love working with people and have been helping people online since 1994. My hearts go out to the people out there who are unable to find help, who aren't sure whether they need help, and who don't have much of an understanding of the terrible consequences, emotionally and physically, that go hand in hand with the eating disorder. I view eating disorders as coping mechanisms that people use when they are under stress. I believe that eating disorders most times have many similarities whether it is anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. The good news is that people can heal from an eating disorder and learn to create the lives they would like to live.

Experience

I have been treating eating disorders for almost 23 years. I have been in private practice as well as running my own treatment program, Mirasol. I believe that people can be cured from their eating disorders -- that they are not always recovering. I am knowledgeable about co-occurring disorders as well -- depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. I was the official eating disorder therapist for the University of Arizona athletic department and love working with girls and women of all ages!

Organizations
International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, Academy of Eating Disorders

Education/Credentials
PhD in Clinical Psychology

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