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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 12:49 GMT
Bulimics offered online treatment
Person eating
Bulimia is characterised by binge eating and starvation
The University of Glasgow is launching a new online computer programme to help people overcome the problem of bulimia.

The eating disorder, characterised by starvation and binge eating, is three times more common than anorexia and is on the increase in Scotland.

Treatment is often hard to access for sufferers and it is hoped the Pc-based package will help solve this problem.

The internet project will be aimed at treating bulimic adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 20 years.

The idea was initially developed as a CD-Rom entitled Overcoming Bulimia by Media Innovations Ltd, a University of Leeds subsidiary company which develops ideas which arise from academic research.

Glasgow University has been awarded 191,000 from the Medical Research Council to launch a web-based version in conjunction with the Institute of Psychiatry, London.

Bulimia nervosa is a common and disabling condition with significant personal, social and relationship costs.

It is associated with depression and anxiety with sufferers resorting to excessive laxative use and self-induced vomiting in a bid to keep their weight down.

Many people feel really ashamed of the symptoms of bulimia, such as bingeing and vomiting or purging of food
Dr Chris Williams
University of Glasgow

This can cause serious effects on the immediate and long-term health of sufferers.

Initial trials of the CD-Rom have proved very effective in reducing the problems of vomiting and laxative abuse.

The university says that the shame and secretiveness surrounding the condition makes the computer-based treatment particularly appealing to sufferers.

Each session takes about 45 minutes to work through on an individual basis.

Psychiatrist Dr Chris Williams, of the University of Glasgow, said: "The CD-Rom and internet packages aim to provide another treatment option for people - and our experience to date is that this can be as effective as seeing a specialist practitioner.

"Many people feel really ashamed of the symptoms of bulimia, such as bingeing and vomiting or purging of food.

"The computer-guided self-help treatment program for bulimia has real potential to be utilised in routine clinical practice - especially as a first step to care."


SEE ALSO:
Eating disorder concerns voiced
18 Jan 05 |  Scotland
New help for bulimia sufferers
08 Jan 04 |  Bristol/Somerset


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