How are eating disorders treated?

Typical treatment goals include restoring adequate nutrition, bringing weight to a healthy level, reducing excessive exercise, and stopping binging and purging behaviors. Specific forms of psychotherapy, or talk therapy including a family-based therapy called the Maudsley approach and cognitive behavioral approaches have been shown to be useful for treating specific eating disorders. Evidence also suggests that antidepressant medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may help for bulimia nervosa and also may be effective for treating co-occurring anxiety or depression for other eating disorders.

In our opinion treatment plans should be tailored to meet the individual needs.

  • Individual, group, or family psychotherapy
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medications (for example, antidepressants).

Some patients also may need to be hospitalized to treat problems caused by malnutrition or to ensure they eat enough if they are very underweight. Complete recovery is possible.

Find an Eating Disorder treatment expert

A key step in starting recovery is to find a qualified eating disorders professional; someone who specializes in eating disorders and who will help in coordinating and overseeing care and treatment.  This may typically begin on the outpatient level, as many people with eating disorders often respond successfully to this level of treatment.  The eating disorder specialist will be vital in developing a treatment plan that is tailored to the man or womans individual problems and needs.  A treatment team may also be formed and coordinated with your eating disorder specialist to address the various complications associated with the illness, such as therapy and nutrition. If outpatient treatment is not enough, these professionals will help you seek higher levels of care..

Eating Disorder treatment
The severity of the eating disorder and any co-occurring disorders will determine the initial treatment level you or you or your loved one should have. It is most common to begin with the outpatient level. Health professionals seen in the outpatient level of care can determine if a higher level of care is needed and refer as necessary. 

Below are the most common types of eating disorder treatment:

  • Outpatient treatment with a therapist / coach / counselor
  • Intensive outpatient treatment / residential treatment 
  • Inpatient / hospital treatment

Major therapies for Eating Disorder treatment
As part of eating disorder treatment are several types of therapy options that address various aspects of the disease.  These therapies can be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan for recovery from an eating disorder.  Some specific examples of these helpful therapies are:

  • Art Therapy
  • Dance/Movement Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Therapy (MFT)
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy

When considering which therapies to include as part of a treatment plan for an eating disorder, it is important to work with a health professional to determine what problems or underlying issues are priority in addressing, the desires and strengths of the individual participating in the treatment, and the level of eating disorder treatment needed. Understanding these various aspects can be helpful in establishing which therapies can be included in the treatment plan. We can help you determine what is best for you or your beloved one. Contact us. 

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