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Welcome to the Bulimia Nervosa Website
of the National Centre for Eating Disorders


Bulimia is a condition suffered by millions of people. You are interested in bulimia because you, or someone you care about, may have bulimia. Perhaps you are just researching bulimia. Whatever your questions about bulimia, we at the National Centre for Eating Disorders (NCFED) can help.

How we can help you

We have over 20 years experience working with women and men who have bulimia. Our treatment programmes for bulimia are holistic, caring, personal and available wherever you live. Our national network of practitioners are fully trained to work with eating problems, and have guided many thousands of people into recovery, personal happiness and a normal relationship with food.

Take the first step

The first step toward recovery from bulimia is to do an assessment with one of our practitioners. We will advise you on the best way forward, the best treatment option for you, and explain what is keeping you stuck in your bulimia. You will be free to choose how to go forward from there. To do an assessment please click here. You can then use the "back" button on your browser to return to this website.

What is bulimia nervosa?

The official explanation of bulimia nervosa is over-evaluation of shape and weight, with current binge eating combined by extreme weight control behaviour. It is known as the binge-purge syndrome. The word "bulimia" comes from the Greek word for "ox hunger ". Any person whose binge eating or overeating is followed by purging behaviour specifically to control weight gain can be described as "bulimic". People with bulimia nervosa are plagued by thoughts of needing to control their weight, but their control of eating is undermined by overeating or even binge eating from time to time. Fearful of gaining weight, they follow overeating by trying to get rid of the forbidden calories that they have taken in, by purging (vomiting or taking laxatives) and / or in some cases, by engaging in excessive exercise.

They believe that this will keep their weight down. There is a very "addictive" feel to bulimic behaviour People typically feel very guilty about their behaviour, they feel they have a shameful secret. They promise to themselves that they will stop only to find themselves in the familiar cycle the following day. There are many different types of bulimic behaviour In mild cases, bingeing and purging happen infrequently, and there may be periods of normal eating in between, although most bulimics do restrain their eating in between binge-purge (bulimic) episodes. In severe cases, a person may binge and purge many times each day. Some people are so afraid of losing control that they try to avoid eating as much as possible, but once they start eating they cannot stop, and the binge is brought to an end by vomiting / taking laxatives.

This is what is meant by binge eating

  • Binge eating is usually described as "eating more than a normal person would eat in a similar period of time
  • It is eating food which is thought to be forbidden ( usually sweets chocolate, or cereal
  • It is usually done in secret and is felt to be abnormal
  • There is shame and anxiety about this behaviour
  • There are ideas about having to pay or compensate for what one has done
  • A binge can also be "subjective" One man's binge is another man's good meal. Any unwanted eating event ( such as a bar of chocolate ) which is regarded as forbidden can trigger purging behaviour
  • Some people describe bingeing as unwanted eating behaviour that results from a craving

This is what is meant by purging

  • Purging is defined by behaviours such as vomiting, taking laxatives specifically to hurry food out of the body so that it will ( in theory) not be absorbed, taking diuretics and some very extreme bulimic behaviours could include blood letting to remove glucose from the body
  • Excessive exercise could be present when someone has an compulsive and addictive need to exercise - usually to avoid weight gain. He or she runs, swims or goes to the gym specifically to work off calories that they believe they have overeaten. This is exercise which may or may not be enjoyed- however it bears little relationship with the exercise we do to make us healthy and fit. The primary purpose of this activity is that it is designed to remove anxiety, perhaps even punish a person for their "weakness and lack of willpower." It is very hard to distinguish between normal and excessive levels of exercise This will depend on the context in which this exercise is done and its underlying purpose
  • Another way to define "extreme weight control behaviour" is behaviour which can damage physical and emotional health


The NCFED offers a gentle, personalised treatment programme for bulimia nervosa. We have 20 years experience of working with bulimia and have guided thousands of people into recovery and a normal, happy life. For more information on the National Centre For Eating Disorders' unique treatment programme click here. To book an assessment with one of our counsellors click here.

Workshops are a great way to make fast changes with people who understand and support you. The NCFED regularly runs successful eating disorder workshops and group therapy programmes. Please click here for further details.

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