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Ask the Experts

Question:

What is the recommended treatment for a woman over the age of 50 who has bulimia and has been binging and purging for decades?

Answered by: Robyn Sysko

Eating disorders, including bulimia nervosa (BN), can have a chronic course. We often see patients in our program who have been struggling with binge eating and purging behaviors for many years. Among adults, our treatment recommendations would likely be the same for an individual who has been ill for only a short time or a person who has experienced these symptoms for decades. Two forms of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy, have been found to be helpful for reducing bulimic behaviors. In addition, the medication fluoxetine (Prozac), is the only antidepressant currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of BN. If you receive an evaluation from a mental health professional with an expertise in eating disorders, you could consider these different treatment options and discuss factors, other than the duration of your symptoms, that might affect what type of treatment to try first. Good luck. Robyn Sysko, PhD