What You Need to Know About Eating Disorder Treatment

What you need to know about eating disorder treatmentEating disorders are complex illnesses that combine body image issues, psychological health and biological causes. Treatment for eating disorders should be behavioral, psychological and physical and will often involve the following elements:

  • Medical care and supervision
  • Medication
  • Meetings with nutritionists or dietitians
  • Psychotherapy

Multi-faceted treatment will address the multi-faceted nature of eating disorders and help patients find their way to health and recovery.

Medical Care for Individuals with Eating Disorders

Medical care is a necessary part of eating disorder treatment, as eating disorders can cause extensive physical damage and health problems such as the following:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Osteoporosis
  • Permanent kidney problems
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cardiac arrest

Individuals with bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa will require a special diet that will restore electrolyte balance, while individuals with anorexia nervosa will need to regain a healthy weight. Medical professionals can ensure that patients are physically stable before they proceed to further treatment.

Medication to Treat Eating Disorders

The preferred method of eating disorder treatment does not involve medication. However, some cases will require prescription drugs for the first few weeks of treatment. Individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety have found medication during the early stages of recovery to be effective. These medications will not cure an eating disorder and cannot prevent relapse, but they can allay psychological symptoms that may hamper early treatment.

Eating Disorder Treatment by Nutritionists and Dieticians

Nutritionists can develop personalized diets for recovering individuals. Eating disorders change metabolisms, and some individuals may need more calories than the average person while others will require less. Nutritionists can create a daily schedule of healthy, balanced meals that will meet caloric needs. They will typically recommend quality protein sources accompanied by fresh fruits and vegetables that will provide needed vitamins and nutrients.

Psychotherapy as Eating Disorder Treatment

Psychotherapy is one of the most effective means of treating eating disorders. It can be completed on an individual, group or family basis. Individual therapy can help individuals repair body image and self-esteem. Therapists work with patients to discover any underlying mental health issues or past trauma that may threaten long-term recovery. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be employed to change thought and behavior patterns that contribute to eating disorders or could cause relapse. Group therapy allows recovering individuals to share struggles and successes with others who understand what they are experiencing. Family therapy can be especially effective treatment for eating disorders and is a way for family members to show they care. Eating disorders may involve young men or women who are struggling to separate themselves and their identities from that of their families and will need family support to do so. Other times, families can be essential tools in recovery by preparing healthy meals, changing attitudes towards diet and body image and keeping an eye out for signs of relapse.

Find Eating Disorder Treatment

Are you or a loved one struggling with an eating disorder? Call our toll-free number to learn about treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day and can provide you with the help and information you need. Now is the time to end the cycle and begin recovery; call today.