Originally published May 5 2009
Use Hypnotherapy to Treat Bulimia
by Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.
(NaturalNews) According to the World Encyclopedia (2005), bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by excessive eating followed by purging by methods of vomiting, diuretics, or laxatives. Bulimia is usually the result of a psychological disorder and an obsession with body image. Approximately one to three percent of adolescents in the United States have bulimia. The disorder usually presents itself in late adolescence and early adulthood (Schoenstadt, 2007). Research is being conducted to find the cause of bulimia. Several forms of treatment have shown success in treating people with bulimia, including hypnotherapy.
Common characteristics of people with bulimia include low self-esteem, problems with relationships (both family and friends), inability to cope with pressure, and the need to fit in. Bulimia is characterized by weight problems including poor body image. Recent studies have shown that bulimia is becoming more common among pre-teen girls. One study showed that of the girls studied, 70% reported that the age in which they first became concerned with their weight was between the ages of 9 and 11 (Schoenstadt, 2007).
A study in the Archives of General Psychiatry compared the risk factors of having a binge eating disorder compared to those without any health disorders. The case consisted of 52 women with binge eating disorder, 102 women with bulimia nervosa, 102 women with a psychiatric disorder, and 104 without any disorder. Those with a binge eating disorder were more likely to have weight vulnerabilities, parental depression, and frequently received criticism for their weight from others. Those with bulimia were found to have a negative body image, perfectionistic tendencies, and vulnerability to obesity (Fairburn, Doll, Welch, Hay, Davies, & O'Connor, 1998).
Brown (1991) points out the benefits of hypnosis on treating people diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. There are many psychological factors involved with this eating disorder including negative body image, perfectionism, and outside factors such as family. This study showed that using hypnosis sessions to treat people with bulimia, showed to be very effective. The hypnosis techniques involved relaxation, imagery, and positive suggestions to target the subconscious mind of the patient. Hypnosis was able to improve and treat the psychological issues contributing to bulimia nervosa.
These studies show the advances in treating bulimia, particularly by alternative methods such as hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a safe and natural method with many lasting benefits. More research should be conducted to evaluate whether more benefits can be realized by using hypnosis to treat bulimia nervosa.
Brown, M.H. (1991). Innovations in the treatment of bulimia: Transpersonal psychology, relaxation, imagination, hypnosis, myth, and ritual. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development, 33(2), 50-60.
"bulimia nervosa." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Retrieved May 01, 2009 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-bulimi...
Fairburn, C.G., Doll, H.A., Welch, S.L., Hay, P.J., Davies, B.A, & O'Connor, M.E. (1998). Risk factors for binge eating disorder: A community-based case-control study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 425-432.
Schoenstadt, A. (2007). Bulimia. MedTV: http://bulimia.emedtv.com/bulimia/bulimia.ht...
About the authorSteve G. Jones, Ed.S. has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 22 books on Hypnotherapy. Steve is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, president of the American Alliance of Hypnotists, on the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association, and director of the Steve G. Jones School of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Florida (1994), a master's degree in education from Armstrong Atlantic State University (2007), and is currently working on a doctorate in education, Ed.D., at Georgia Southern University. Learn more at:
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