Bulimia nervosa: Treatment options

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Learn about the range of treatments that can help a child recover from bulimia nervosa.

Key points

  • A child will receive treatment for bulimia nervosa in hospital if their heart rate is low or irregular or if they have low blood pressure or need to break the binge/purge cycle. Hospital treatment focuses on giving enough nutrition to return the child or teen to a healthy weight and supervising your child during and after mealtimes and snack times.
  • If a child is medically stable, they will be treated at an outpatient eating disorders program by a team of professionals. They will have their weight, heart rate and blood pressure checked regularly and will receive treatment to end their binge/purge symptoms.
  • At home, the goal is to have a child or teen eat a variety of foods in moderation, including the foods on which they binged.
  • Because bulimia nervosa affects the whole family, psychological treatment will usually involve family-based therapy. Some teens may receive cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • If bulimia nervosa occurs with depression and/or anxiety, a child or teen may be prescribed antidepressants along with psychological treatment.
Last updated: September 12th 2023