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The Role of Mindfulness in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating Disorder Recovery

Mindfulness plays a crucial role in eating disorder recovery, offering a holistic approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of healing. The Oxford English Dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” Mindfulness offers individuals recovering from eating disorders a powerful tool to navigate the complexities of their relationship with food, body image, and emotions. Let’s explore the profound role of mindfulness in fostering healing and resilience on the path to recovery:

  • Cultivating Awareness of Eating Habits: Mindfulness brings attention to the act of eating itself. By being fully present during meals, individuals can develop a heightened awareness of their eating habits, including the pace of eating, chewing, and the sensations of hunger and fullness. This mindful approach forms the foundation for fostering a healthier and more attuned relationship with food.
  • Recognizing Triggers and Emotional Patterns: Eating disorders often intertwine with emotional triggers and patterns. Mindfulness encourages individuals to observe and acknowledge their emotional states without judgment. By recognizing triggers and observing emotional responses, individuals gain insights into the underlying factors contributing to their eating behaviors.
  • Developing a Non-Judgmental Attitude: Mindfulness promotes a non-judgmental and compassionate attitude towards oneself. In the context of eating disorder recovery, this attitude is crucial. It allows individuals to approach their struggles with kindness, understanding that healing is a gradual process without room for self-blame or harsh criticism.
  • Mindful Eating Practices: Mindful eating involves savoring each bite, paying attention to flavors, textures, and the overall experience of eating. By incorporating mindful eating practices, individuals can break free from automatic or impulsive eating behaviors, fostering a more conscious and intentional approach to nourishing their bodies.
  • Building Emotional Regulation Skills: Mindfulness equips individuals with tools for emotional regulation. By staying present in the moment and observing emotions without immediate reaction, individuals can develop healthier coping mechanisms for managing stress, anxiety, or other emotional triggers that may have contributed to their eating disorder.
  • Enhancing Body Awareness: Central to eating disorder recovery is the cultivation of body awareness. Mindfulness encourages individuals to reconnect with their bodies, fostering an appreciation for the body’s signals of hunger, fullness, and overall well-being. This awareness lays the groundwork for building a positive body image.
  • Mindful Self-Compassion: Eating disorder recovery necessitates self-compassion. Mindfulness practices emphasize self-kindness and acceptance. By cultivating mindful self-compassion, individuals can counteract negative self-talk and develop a more nurturing relationship with themselves during the ups and downs of the recovery journey.
  • Breaking Automatic Thought Patterns: Mindfulness enables individuals to break free from automatic thought patterns associated with eating disorders. By bringing attention to these patterns, individuals can interrupt destructive thought cycles and gradually replace them with more constructive and affirming thoughts.
  • Coping with Urges and Cravings: Mindfulness equips individuals with tools to navigate urges and cravings without succumbing to impulsive behaviors. By observing these sensations without immediate reaction, individuals can build resilience against the pull of destructive habits, fostering a sense of control in the face of challenging moments.

In the realm of eating disorder recovery, mindfulness stands as a beacon of awareness, compassion, and resilience. Its transformative influence extends from the dinner table to the inner workings of the mind, offering individuals a holistic approach to healing. By embracing mindfulness, individuals embarking on the journey of recovery can navigate the challenges with greater self-awareness, self-compassion, and a renewed connection to the present moment.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

The Role of Art Therapy in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorders are neurological disorders that are loosely characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. There are several different types of eating disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and each is categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Although eating disorders are life-long conditions, with proper treatment and support, an individual can learn to effectively manage its symptoms. The goal of treatment for an individual diagnosed with an eating disorder is to help them find a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. Creative expression can be an effective way to foster mental health and well-being. Hence, art therapy plays a valuable role in the recovery process for individuals dealing with eating disorders.

The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as “an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” It is a form of experiential therapy that is facilitated by art therapists who are trained mental health clinicians that are educated in human development, clinical practice, psychological theories, and fine art. Art therapy offers a unique and effective approach to addressing the emotional and psychological aspects of eating disorders:

Art therapy sessions can be conducted in an individual or group setting. While it can be used on its own or in conjunction with other treatment modalities, art therapy is often integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan for eating disorder recovery, alongside medical, nutritional, and psychological interventions. Art therapy provides a safe and creative space for exploration, expression, and healing, ultimately supporting one’s journey toward improved mental health and recovery.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

How To Overcome Negative Body Image In Eating Disorder Recovery

Negative Body Image

Eating disorders are complex psychological conditions that are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) specifically defines eating disorders as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior.” There are different types of eating disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Eating disorders often involve intense self-criticism, body dissatisfaction, and perfectionism. While everyone experiences negative thoughts or feeling about their body from time to time, overcoming negative body image and thoughts related to eating disorders can be a particularly challenging process. Body image refers to how an individual perceives, thinks, and feels about his or her own body. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) highlights various suggestions that can help you work toward a more positive body image:

  • Be kind to yourself: Practicing positive self-talk, for example, encourages self-confidence, effective coping, achievement, and a general feeling of well-being. Select a few affirmations, or positive statements about your body and repeat them regularly. Avoid self-criticism, treat yourself with respect, and shift your internal dialogue to replace negative self-talk with more positive and realistic statements.
  • Wear comfortable clothes: Tight or restrictive clothing can exacerbate negative body image thoughts. When you are already feeling particularly self-conscious about various areas of your body, alleviate any added anxiety by wearing clothing that is comfortable.
  • Strengthen social connections: Build a healthy support network that includes people who understand and support your journey towards a healthier body image. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can help reinforce a healthier mindset.
  • Make time for self-care: Self-care encompasses activities, practices, and habits intended to reduce mental and physical stress and strain while simultaneously fostering feelings of inner peace and happiness. Engage in activities that promote physical and mental well-being.
  • Get rid of your scale: Recovering from an eating disorder will likely involve weight changes. While knowing your weight can be a great exposure therapy tool, having a scale at your constant disposal can sometimes be a distraction from your long-term recovery goals.

Body acceptance and neutrality are difficult concepts for everyone, and especially challenging for those who have a history of an eating disorder. It is essential to be patient and have compassion for yourself, as overcoming negative body image in eating disorder recovery is a crucial aspect of the healing process.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

The Benefits of Cognitive Therapy for Eating Disorder Recovery

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy is a relatively short-term form of psychotherapy based on the concept that the way we think about things affects how we feel emotionally. In cognitive therapy, a person focuses on present thinking, behavior, and communication rather than on past experiences. It is a therapeutic approach that is oriented toward problem solving, where with the help of a mental health professional, an individual in therapy is encouraged to identify unhealthy thought processes and work to change them. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which combines cognitive therapy and behavior therapy, is the leading evidence-based treatment for eating disorders. CBT was developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist, Aaron Beck. CBT is a structured, time-limited, goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that “targets multiple areas of potential vulnerability (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, affective) with developmentally-guided strategies and traverses multiple intervention pathways.” CBT has several benefits in the context of eating disorder recovery:

  • Facilitates cognitive restructuring: Cognitive restructuring aims to help people identify unhelpful or distorted thinking patterns and modify them with more reality-based or effective thinking. With eating disorders, this often focuses on targeting people’s unhelpful assumptions and beliefs surrounding food, body image, and emotions.
  • Promotes mindfulness: People with eating disorders often spend a substantial amount of time ruminating about food and body image. Mindfulness training is a tool that can help people connect to the present moment, which disrupts the rumination cycle, and paves the way for healthier behaviors.
  • Encourages behavioral chain analysis: As Verywell Mind explains “when it comes to addressing maladaptive behavior, a chain analysis can be useful for identifying the different factors that contribute to that behavior.” This can highlight various interventions that are more easily designed to target the symptoms associated with disordered eating.
  • Anxiety reduction: Many people with eating disorders experience high levels of anxiety, particularly related to food and body image. CBT provides strategies to manage and reduce anxiety, improving overall mental well-being.
  • Relapse prevention: CBT equips individuals with skills to identify early warning signs of relapse and strategies to prevent relapse (e.g., developing a plan for handling triggers and setbacks, etc.).

CBT is a valuable tool for treating people with eating disorders. Through CBT a person’s unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors are challenged and disrupted, essentially prohibiting one’s ability to maintain dysfunctional eating habits. By helping individuals to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors, CBT can support the development of a nutritional relationship with food.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating Disorder Recovery

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list different types of eating disorders that are respectively categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Eating disorders are defined as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior,” and are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences, interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life, and if left untreated can become life-threatening. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), an estimated 30 million U.S. adults will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is defined as “compassion directed inward, relating to oneself as the object of care and concern when faced with the experience of suffering.” Kristin Neff, Ph.D., one of the leading researchers in this field, explains that self-compassion is comprised of the following three central components:

  • Self-kindness versus self-judgment: Being kind and understanding toward oneself rather than being self-critical.
  • Common humanity versus isolation: Seeing one’s fallibility as part of the larger human condition and experience rather than as isolating.
  1. Mindfulness versus overidentification: Holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than avoiding them or overidentifying with them.

When these interrelated elements combine and mutually interact, we can cultivate a self-compassionate frame of mind when encountering personal mistakes, failure, perceived inadequacies, and/ or various experiences of life difficulty. Self-compassion plays a crucial role in the recovery process for individuals overcoming an eating disorder.

Self-Compassion in Eating Disorder Recovery

In addition to increasing treatment outcome, there are a variety of benefits to practicing self-compassion for those recovering from an eating disorder:

  • Reduction in self-criticism: A 2021 paper in the Journal of Positive Psychology, asserts that self-compassion induces a feeling of security and calmness as it produces a chemical response by activating the parasympathetic system, which triggers the release of oxytocin (commonly known as the “love hormone”). This creates a sense of emotional safety that can help reduce the harsh self-judgment that perpetuates disordered eating behaviors.
  • Enhanced motivation for recovery: According to Michigan State University, “practicing self-compassion helps us to accept our own humanness and imperfections with kindness and increases people’s motivation to learn, to change for the better and to avoid repeating past mistakes.”
  • Reduced shame and guilt: Shame and guilt are common emotions in eating disorders. Self-compassion fosters a sense of worthiness and acceptance, reducing the shame associated with food, body image, and past behaviors.

Self-compassion plays a vital role in eating disorder recovery by promoting emotional healing, reducing self-criticism, and fostering a healthier relationship with oneself. Eating disorders often involve intense self-criticism, body dissatisfaction, and perfectionism. Cultivating self-compassion can counteract these harmful patterns and support individuals on their journey to recovery.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

The Role of Exercise in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating Disorder Recovery

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list different types of eating disorders that are, respectively, categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Eating disorders are defined as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior,” and are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences and interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life. Further, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. There are a variety of eating disorder treatment options available. The path of recovery will not be the same for everyone, as everyone is unique with distinct needs. A personalized treatment plan will provide an individual with the highest potential for a successful long-term recovery.

The Role of Exercise

While exercise has long been recognized as an effective intervention for many psychological health issues, it has often been overlooked as a potential adjunct to eating disorder treatment. This may be, in part, due to the fact that over-exercising and purging through exercise are common features across all eating disorders, and these unhealthy practices are often some of the last symptoms to subside during recovery. According to Psychology Today, “the degree of over-exercise, as well as body image dissatisfaction, also predicts whether a person will relapse, an occurrence that happens in up to 52% of people who have initially recovered from an eating disorder.” Based on the assumption that individuals will misuse workout practices to compensate for increased food intake, eating disorder treatment has historically involved no access to exercise.

However, prohibiting or significantly restricting exercise during eating disorder treatment can hinder one’s recovery. Prolonged abstinence from exercising can exacerbate one’s body image dissatisfaction and trigger relapses. Hence, much like recovery from eating disorders involves the reintroduction of foods and/ or calories that have been previously eliminated, helping to reestablish a healthy relationship with exercise is becoming an increasingly common component of the eating disorder treatment protocol. There are several empirically supported benefits of including exercise in eating disorder recovery, such as:

  • Exercising has the potential to enhance one’s interoceptive awareness, which is one’s ability to sense internal cues (e.g., hunger, thirst, heartbeat, etc.), shaping how one feels and behaves. This, in turn, helps to support behavioral changes (such as eating and resting), as it improves one’s ability to notice when they feel hunger and/ or fatigue.
  • One study found that incorporating mindful exercise into eating disorder treatments boosts weight restoration and reduces compulsive thoughts. Mindful exercise involves paying attention to how your body moves and observing how you feel before, during, and after the movement.
  • Exercise during recovery increases individual’s autonomy, and clinical evidence demonstrates that when individuals have a sense of autonomy in their recovery plan it heightens their motivation to adhere to their treatment.

Scientific research demonstrates that exercising during eating disorder recovery improves treatment outcomes physically and mentally.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Are The Signs Of An Eating Disorder?

eating disorder

Eating disorders are complex psychological conditions that are broadly characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. They are defined as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes different types of eating disorders, all of which are categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Each type of eating disorder is associated with different signs and symptoms, as indicated below: 

  • Anorexia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss and/ or lack of appropriate wait gain in growing children, an inability to maintain an appropriate body weight for one’s age, height, stature, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body image (weight and/ or shape). People struggling with anorexia will employ extreme efforts to control their weight and/ or shape, which can significantly interfere with their ability to properly function in daily life. The Mayo Clinic provides examples of common signs of anorexia, some of which include: 
    • Thin appearance
    • Insomnia
    • Extreme weight loss
    • Not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Dizziness and/ or fainting
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Dry and/ or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Excessively exercising
  • Bulimia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of overeating (bingeing) and compensatory behaviors (purging) in attempts to undo the effects of the binge eating episodes. Purging could include self-induced vomiting, excessively over exercising, and/ or abusing diuretics. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides examples of common signs of bulimia, some of which include:
    • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
    • Fear of eating in public or with others
    • Shows unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
    • Discolored, stained teeth
    • Has calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting
    • Diets frequently
    • Shows extreme concern with body weight and shape
    • Extreme mood swings
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Dizziness
    • Fainting
    • Non-specific gastrointestinal complaints
    • Sleeping problems
    • Muscle weakness
    • Impaired immune system
  • Binge-eating disorder (BED): is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsively eating abnormally large quantities of food (often quickly) to the point of physical discomfort, without engaging in compensatory behaviors. Often binge episodes are followed by emotions of embarrassment, shame, guilt, and/ or distress. The Office on Women’s Health (OASH) provides examples of common signs of binge-eating disorder, some of which include:
    • Noticeable weight fluctuations
    • Depression
    • Eating in secret
    • Anxiety
    • Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
    • Skipping meals
    • Hiding food in unusual places
    • Eating excessive amounts of food in a short period of time
    • Continuing to eat, even when painfully full 
    • Inability to feel satiated
    • Suicidal ideation
  • Rumination syndrome: is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by repeatedly and unintentionally regurgitating (spitting up) undigested or partially digested food from the stomach, chewing it again and either swallowing it or spitting it out. The Mayo Clinic provides examples of common signs of rumination syndrome, some of which include:
    • Effortless regurgitation, typically within 10 minutes of eating
    • Abdominal pain or pressure relieved by regurgitation
    • A feeling of fullness
    • Bad breath
    • Nausea
    • Unintentional weight loss
  • Avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): is an eating disorder characterized by restricting food intake (e.g., eating smaller amounts) and/ or eliminating certain groups to the point of infringing on one’s exposure to and ability to absorb needed nutrients coming from food. The National Eating Disorders Association provides examples of common signs of AFRID, some of which include:
    • Sudden refusal to eat foods previously eaten
    • Fear of choking, vomiting, pain or nausea due to certain foods or the act of eating
    • Lack of appetite or low appetite without medical cause
    • Very slow eating, easily distracted during eating or forgetting to eat

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

How To Recover From An Eating Disorder?

Eating-Disorder-Recovery

There are several different types of eating disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and each is categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. They are serious mental illnesses that are loosely characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences and interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life. Although eating disorders are life-long conditions, with proper treatment and support, a person can learn to effectively manage its symptoms. 

Treatment Process

There are a variety of eating disorder treatment options available. The path of recovery will not be the same for everyone, as everyone is unique with distinct needs. A personalized treatment plan will provide an individual with the highest potential for a successful recovery. Depending on the nuanced needs of the individual, the treatment process could include any combination of the following components:

  • Inpatient treatment: intensive, inpatient treatment can help address severe malnutrition and other physical health complications that have developed from one’s eating disorder, settings may include:
    • Hospitalization
    • Inpatient facility
  • Psychotherapy: there are a variety of therapeutic modalities used to help treat individuals with eating disorders and may be integrated into treatment plans, some of which include, but are not limited to:
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): can be used to help an individual break unhealthy behavioral patterns associated with his or her eating disorder by identifying and replacing dysfunctional patterns.
    • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT can benefit a person diagnosed with an eating disorder by helping to foster self-management skills, lower stress, reduce anxiety, and learn to control destructive eating behaviors.
    • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on how a person’s communications and interactions with other people affect one’s own mental health. Through interpersonal therapy an individual will learn to resolve and adjust unhealthy interpersonal problems, resulting in a symptomatic recovery.
  • Medications: there are certain medications that may be used in in treatment plans for eating disorders:
  • Anorexia nervosa: the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has yet to approve any medication specifically for the treatment of anorexia nervosa. 
      • Bulimia nervosa: the only medication that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of bulimia nervosa is the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) known as Prozac (fluoxetine). 
      • Binge-eating disorder: The first medication the FDA approved as treatment from binge eating disorder is called Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine). Antidepressants such as SSRIs (e.g., Prozac) could be prescribed to reduce the frequency of binge eating episodes. Anticonvulsant medications, such as Topiramate, could be prescribed to reduce the frequency of bingeing episodes. 
  • Nutritional counseling: to facilitate weight restoration and body-weight management.
  • Medical care and/ or medical monitoring: to minimize and mitigate possible medical complications that can arise from eating disorders

The treatment plan for an individual diagnosed with an eating disorder will be directly informed by several contributing factors, such as: the exact diagnosis, how long he or she has been actively engaging in unhealthy eating habits, his or her personal health history, and the presence of any co-morbid disorders. The goal of eating disorder treatment is to help an individual find a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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