Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that involves binge eating followed by purging. An estimated 1.5 percent of American women will experience bulimia during their lifetime, according to a 2007 study. But bulimia doesn’t always strike alone. There is a significant body of data that shows a strong connection between bulimia and depression.


Comorbidity refers to a condition that occurs simultaneously with another condition, but it does not necessarily mean that there’s a guaranteed link between the two conditions. For instance, Person A might have heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, while person B might have heart disease, arthritis, and bad breath. However, if medical professionals frequently see heart disease go along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and if they only rarely see comorbidity between heart disease and arthritis or bad breath, they will begin to establish a link and look for the relationship between heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Bulimia and Depression

Eating disorders and depression go hand in hand often enough that many people are doing research to discover the exact relationship between these two things. According to WebMD, as many as 50% of people with binge eating disorder also have a history of depression. Vanderbilt research cites a study that found that 79% of patients with bulimia experienced concurrent depression. However, what has not been determined conclusively is whether bulimia is a symptom or a cause of depression.

Bulimia as a cause of depression

It’s easy to understand how bulimia could give rise to depression. The patient struggles with shame and self-loathing over the bulimic behavior and attempts to stop. Inability to stop causes mental anguish, stress, and increased resolve to “do better next time.” Repeated attempts and failures give way to a hopeless feeling when the patient gives up, and this can trigger depression.

Depression as a cause of bulimia

On the other hand, there is evidence that in many cases, the thing that triggered bulimia in the first place was depression, and the bulimia was one of many symptoms.

Effective Bulimia Treatment Addresses Both

No matter which one causes the other, the fact remains that bulimia and depression are frequently found together. Therefore, it goes without saying that in order to be effective, eating disorder treatment must treat both the eating disorder and the depression simultaneously. Leaving one or the other unattended will reduce the likelihood of recovery.

Here at Canopy Cove, we identify whether eating disorders are occurring simultaneously with depression, and when we find that they are, we treat them simultaneously. Our mental health and medical professionals are caring and compassionate, and they coordinate their efforts to ensure that each of our residents gets an eating disorder recovery plan that works for them. We believe that full recovery is possible for eating disorders.

If you have an eating disorder or know someone who does please give us a call. Our treatment is specific to anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and other eating disorders. Come to our peaceful Florida setting where you’ll be surrounded by horses, caring people, and the help that you need. Contact us to get started.