We, Australian Chiropractors, just like other health professionals, see our share of patients who need psychological help. Though we’re all super listeners when it comes to our patients, true mental and emotional problems are beyond our chiropractic scope of practice. In those cases, it is always good to have a list of resources for particular issues. That’s why I was happy to read that a multi-study review of psychological therapies for bulimia nervosa showed that bulimia-specific talk therapy, also called cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), compared with no treatment, led to cessation of binge eating in about 37 percent of those treated. Though the studies involved 3,054 adults living in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the reviews were done by Dr. Phillipa P. J. Hay and her colleagues, right here in Australia at the University of Western Sydney.
For their research, Hay and colleagues reviewed 48 studies that assessed various psychotherapies for bulimia nervosa and binge eating. The assessment included not only clinical psychotherapies such as interpersonal, psychoanalytic, hypnosis, and bulimia-specific CBT, but also following procedures of a self-help book. While the effectiveness of the other psychotherapies took about a year, bulimia-specific CBT took around 4 to 5 months to reach the same level, according to Hay.
The target of bulimia-specific talk therapy is overeating and subsequent self-induced vomiting or heavy laxative use that purges food from the body after binge eating episodes. The therapy focuses on specific issues such as dietary habits, fear of weight gain, and how to “normalize” thoughts about food and body image.
It’s good to know that there is timely, effective treatment out there for those suffering from bulimia nervosa!