Eating disorder treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition. However, the complexity of eating disorders often necessitates a multi-faceted approach, involving a diverse team of medical professionals. Unfortunately, patients are often resistant to eating disorder treatment. Learn about different types of eating disorder help, including anorexia treatment and bulimia treatment options.
Eating Disorder Treatment Goals
The primary goals of eating disorder treatment are to:
- Instill a positive body image
- Prevent relapse
- Reduce or eliminate thoughts and behaviors contributing to the disorder
- Restore the patient to a healthy weight
- Teach healthy eating habits
- Treat the disorder’s psychological causes
- Treat the physical complications of the disorder.
Medical professionals employ various types of eating disorder therapies in order to achieve these goals, including counseling, nutritional education programs and hospitalization.
Eating Disorder Help with Counseling
Psychotherapy confronts the psychological issues that contribute to eating disorders. Patients learn to recognize destructive behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to disordered eating. They also learn new ways to cope with emotional distress. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most popular type of therapy for eating disorder treatment.
Nutritional Education Programs
Patients may also participate in a nutritional education program, in which a doctor or dietician teaches nutrition and healthy eating habits. With this eating disorder help, patients are able to focus on their health, rather than their weight.
Antidepressants as Bulimia Treatment
Doctors may prescribe antidepressant medication to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, both of which are quite common in patients with eating disorders. In addition, antidepressants can be an effective bulimia treatment. Many individuals with bulimia benefit from antidepressants, even if they don’t suffer from depression.
Inpatient Eating Disorder Treatment
In severe cases, emergency hospital treatment may be necessary to stabilize a patient’s condition and treat critical health care needs. Hospitalization may also be necessary if the patient hasn’t responded to eating disorder treatment at an outpatient facility. In such cases, doctors may need to supervise a patient to make sure she’s eating enough.
Eating Disorder Treatment Challenges
Anorexia treatment is particularly challenging because the patient is usually quite resistant. Even after recognizing the life-threatening nature of this condition, patients often continue to avoid healthy weight gain. As a result, anorexia relapse rates are high.
Patients with bulimia are generally less resistant to treatment. However, bulimia treatment has its own set of challenges. Individuals with bulimia may also be dealing with abusive relationships, personality disorders and substance abuse. If these factors aren’t addressed, they can cause the patient to relapse.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. (2010). Information about therapeutic treatments. Retrieved September 13, 2010, from http://www.anad.org/get-information /information-about-treatment/
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. (2003). Food for thought: Substance abuse and eating disorders. Retrieved September 13, 2010, from http://www.casacolumbia.org/articlefiles/380-Food%20for%20Thought.pdf
University of Maryland Medical Center. (2009). Eating disorders – Treatment. Retrieved September 13, 2010, from http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_general_guidelines_treating_eating _disorders_000049_8.htm