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Bulimia Nervosa Guide

Christine Jeffries

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ask: Prozac and Bulimia Nervosa

By Anonymous
 
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Hi,
I was on Prozac (fluoxetine) for nearly 5 months before I decided to stop taking it. I've had bulimia for years, and it has gotten pretty bad recently (throwing up at least once a day for the past two years, on average), to the point that it is causing some serious health risks. I know prozac is the only medication FDA-approved to treat bulimia, so it made sense that my doctor and therapist would recommend it. However, I hate it like nothing else. It's definitely improved my mood, I'll grant it that, but I've also noticed an extreme increase in bulimic behaviors since I've started it. While that could be a coincidence, I don't think it is. It's like I'm almost more prone to compulsive-overeating type behaviors now, and I remember afterwards that I'll gain weight, and so I make myself throw up. But I feel better the rest of the time, so it's like I'll forget about how much I hate bingeing/purging and be more prone to doing it again in the future. I've also stopped caring as much about gaining weight, which according to my doctor and therapist is a good thing, but I disagree. I don't know how much of the weight gain is even bulimia- or medication-related since I can usually stay pretty consistent with weight even while bingeing/purging but have gained nearly 15-20 pounds since I've been on it. Once I stopped taking it, though, I lost 8 over the course of a couple of weeks, with no chance to bulimic behaviors. I've tried to explain this to my doctor, but I don't think he believes me since he just kept saying "prozac treats bulimia," "prozac causes weight loss," and "let's keep you on the prozac just to be safe" -- seriously?! My bulimia has never been this bad before in my life, even when things were a lot worse for me in other ways, and the only real change this time has been the prozac. I don't want to take it and have stopped for a couple of weeks (already seeing some improvement, I think, since I've only b/p-ed 4 days this past week rather than a couple of times every day), but everyone else wants me to keep taking it. I don't know what to do.

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Mama Ang

Ive had bulemia for 6 years and just recently started recovery for the second time and am trying a new route with medication and therapy because it has had some effects on my body so ive been seeing different drs. The phy dr put me on prozac to treat the binge purge behaviors and when i saw my everyday dr. she looked it up and told me that prozac has effects to make you gain weight and isnt the best choice for everyone and that there are different medications that can help and wont make you gain weight as well.

May 14, 2012 - 7:56am
mena

hi,
i'm an ex ED, was both anorexic then bulimic.. for a year vomited 3 times a day, restricted many things out of the diet too.. then stopped because i went on contraception and my fear of getting pregnant (i was 17 at the time) was stronger then anything.. but it did not CURE me. in fact when i took a break some years later i started again for a little while.. and then just decided i'd try to love myself more.
i never visited any doctor, i never took any medication and.. it took years. i am sure now that if i have looked for help it would have gone faster - still i wouldn't take any medication.
what got me off it was an every day mental training and work on getting rid of my emotional dependencies, and i think it's not so different at all from going through a drug detox.. forcing to love myself more until i eventually started to believe in it. it also meant getting far from some people in my life which made me feel more insecure for a while.
it's long and slow and painful, but if you really want it, you can do it without prozac, of that i'm sure. for me it was a bunch of small baby steps, but each one i made made me feel more proud of myself and eventually took me out of that.
i was also lucky to be real passionate about sports, i teach yoga now, and this both obliged me to quit and made me reconnect with my own body in a totally different way.
the only thing i still lack now is a precise sense of hunger, i don't really know what "i'm hungry" actually means, but... a regular life style, wake up, breakfast, work, lunch, work, light dinner... kinda following the clock does the trick for me :)

May 28, 2011 - 8:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to mena)

Congratulations on overcoming anorexia/bulimia. That takes a lot of work, and I know it's not easy.

I think that's what I was trying to get at -- that I want to stop without medication. My problem is that no one believes me that the prozac was making it worse, and they still want me to take it whether I want to or not. I guess my primary question was whether what I experienced was "normal" or at least plausible.

May 29, 2011 - 3:08pm
mena (reply to Anonymous)

i'm sorry i can't be of much help regarding the prozac, as i never took it and sincerely i don't know any person who's been treated with it for bulimia nervosa.. but i would really like you to know that i believe you can make it, too, and that you can overcome it and win this for your own self. maybe try to consult another doctor regarding the prozac therapy, so you can have another opinion regarding it.
i know probably most of the people around you think that you're just blaming it all on the medicine for the poor outcome, when actually it is you and not prozac that causes trouble.. which can make you feel more weak and lonely and misunderstood, and make you question the same..
..but one thing you can always do, although it's gonna sound useless, and maybe even uneasy & embarrassing.. remind your self every day when you get up in the morning on how amazing you are and how much you are worth. i am sure you can find at least 5 great, good, positive things about your own self. well stick them up to your own face every day for a while - it's gonna sound fake, empty and vane for a while, but eventually you will manage to convince yourself you are.. and that you don't need food to express your emotions with.. food is something that gives energy to your body to function properly, not a punishment, not an enemy.
it's slow and it's uneasy and it really demands your full commitment but.. if i did it you can do it too :)

May 29, 2011 - 5:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Wow. That was way longer than I thought. Sorry.

May 28, 2011 - 6:39pm
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