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Can Therapy Help With Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are not just about eating or not eating. They are actually a body image issue that can be helped with therapy.

Like other mental illnesses, someone suffering from an eating disorder may not show visible signs of doing so. Eating disorders first reached public awareness in the 1970s when Hilde Bruch published a book about a number of case studies on the subject. This book helped to increase awareness beyond society’s upper class and into the general public. Despite this long history of being ignored or being called “normal,” eating disorders are now classified as a mental illness and can be helped with therapy. But how can therapy help with your eating disorder? Let’s take a look.

What is an Eating Disorder?

The term eating disorder is used to describe someone with an unhealthy relationship with food that is interfering with many areas of everyday life. A person may eat little to no food, excessive amounts of food, be obsessed with thoughts of food and exercise, or have a distorted body image. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-V) recognizes four different eating disorders: bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). There are many different symptoms of eating disorders include social withdrawal, self-induced vomiting, binge eating, excessive exercise, and refusal to eat. But while there is no simple cure for eating disorders, there is treatment available and recovery from them is possible through a combination of therapy, nutritional education, and medical treatment.

Treatments for Eating Disorders

Treatments for eating disorders will depend on the specific disorder and how it is tailored to each individual. Generally, the goal is to restore a person to a healthy weight, treat any psychological problems related or coexisting to the disorder, and to reduce behaviors or thoughts that may contribute to the disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often a component of the treatment. This therapy is very structured and can be done as a group, family, or individually, depending on your preferences. CBT is goal-oriented and focuses on changing unhealthy thought patterns, which can lead to behavior changes. CBT is considered a treatment of choice for these disorders and is frequently combined with nutritional counseling, psychotherapy, medically assisted therapy, and other therapeutic methods. Psychotherapy can help sufferers explore the causes and thought processes that are behind their eating disorders. Therapy can also help improve relationships and teach the sufferer how to cope with stress and problems that are not relational to food. Many eating disorders can also contribute to other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. If you or someone you know if suffering from an eating disorder, it is important to get help right away. Eating disorders can become life-threatening and can cause heart problems, anemia, low blood pressure, and even organ failure if they are not treated quickly. For more information on treating your eating disorder, call Family Service Foundation today!

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