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What Are the Types of Treatment Options for Eating Disorders?

woman struggles with symptoms of eating disorder

Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. People with eating disorders are more likely to die from their disorder. It is necessary to learn about the types of therapies available to know how to best support a loved one who may be struggling with an eating disorder.

Eating Disorders

Harmful patterns of eating, bingeing, and purging, and other psychological issues make eating disorders one of the most harmful disorders. There are several types, the most common being:

  • Anorexia nervosa: when a person does not eat enough food to maintain a healthy body weight. Usually they cut down their food intake to extremes, secretly throw food away or use drugs that impact appetite or metabolism.
  • Bulimia nervosa: characterized by a cycle of binging and purging, whether through vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise. Anxiety, depression, and negative emotions lead to bingeing on high-fat, high-sugar, or other unhealthy foods. Guilt leads to purging to counteract the effects of the binge.
  • Binge eating disorder: closer to what a person may think of when imagining a food addiction. The person indulges all day or in large quantities as a way of coping with emotional stress. Unhealthy food is chosen and the struggle with diet continues. This leads to weight gain, which exacerbates the problem of emotional eating.

Therapeutic Support

There are many types of therapies that may be useful in treating eating disorders. There is no one main recommended approach. It may take some time to find the right approach or combination of approaches that work best.

  • Medications and medical observation: in many cases, eating disorders pose a psychological and physical risk to people. A doctor may need to ensure any weight gain or loss is not the result of a physical condition. Antidepressants may be used where needed.
  • Talk therapy: these aim to address underlying causes for a loved one’s eating and help people address any issues.
  • Nutritional counseling: a nutritionist can work to ensure a healthy diet is maintained to get all the nutrients. Long-term, the goal is to get healthy and learn how to eat in a more balanced manner.
  • Holistic therapies: many types of therapies used for eating disorders fall under complementary or alternative therapies. These include art therapy, adventure therapy, equine therapy, and recreational therapy.

Finding the right treatment for eating disorders may be hard when evaluating so many programs. The challenge is how to use medical treatments, talk therapies, nutritional counseling, and complementary approaches together. When all options are considered, a loved one may regain a healthy body image and weight so they can function in a more balanced way going into the future.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare knows that lifetime sobriety, health, and wellness, are completely possible. Each of our treatment programs offer the opportunity for holistic healing utilizing an integrative approach for the recovery of mind, body, and spirit. You can recover. You will recover. Call us today for more information: 844-560-7269