a woman with an eating disorder only eats vegetable

Eating Disorders: What Are the Psychotherapy Methods Used?

Eating Disorders: What Are the Psychotherapy Methods Used?

Eating disorders used to be associated mostly with teenage girls, but the issue actually cuts across all ages. These conditions are expressed as disturbed or abnormal eating habits stemming from a patient’s obsession with food, body shape, body weight or severe health issues.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, pica and binge eating are among the most prevalent eating disorders. Medical nutrition, art, dance movement, physical health management and nutritional counseling are some of the standard management methods for these eating disorders.

In Westport, eating disorder treatment using psychotherapy is one of the most effective approaches. The techniques used in psychotherapy are focused on helping patients understand their issues and empowering them to deal with other mental health issues associated with eating disorders, such as anxiety and depression. The following are the proven psychotherapy options for the management of eating disorders.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is the most popular psychotherapy approach for eating disorders. It is based on the notion that a person’s feelings and thoughts are interdependent. CBT starts with the identification of the distorted views that contribute to a patient’s abnormal eating habits.

The psychotherapist will then challenge the client’s distorted views and encourage healthy thought patterns and consequently, the development of healthy eating habits. There are different versions of CBT used for eating disorders with the latest being the CBT-E, an enhanced treatment approach. This includes about 20 one-on-one therapy sessions.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This will center on the interpersonal challenges in someone’s life that form the basis to an eating disorder. IPT involves three stages, namely the identification of interpersonal challenges, development of a treatment program and assessment of the treatment.

When identifying the interpersonal challenges that might have contributed to an eating disorder, the therapist examines the patient’s life before and after the disorder and any significant life events. IPT takes 16 to 20 weeks in conjunction with other treatments to address an eating disorder.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This treatment is based on a model of emotion regulation. It is used for the treatment of eating disorders in people whom the conditions are associated with emotional distress. DBT aims to help clients get more productive and healthier ways to deal with their emotional distress. By helping a client find healthy ways of coping with emotionally stressing situations, this therapy effectively curbs the eating disorder.

Mindfulness-Based Therapy

woman sitting laid back on the couch having a break

There are different types of mindfulness-based treatment, but they all have one common aspect: mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation aims to increase the patient’s awareness of his or her eating disorder and acceptance of the problem. Unlike in CBT where mindfulness is aimed at learning to challenge negative thoughts, mindfulness-based therapy is centered on disengaging or letting go of these thoughts.

An eating disorder is distressing to a patient and his or her loved ones. A few people would think of psychotherapy as their first option for the treatment of eating disorders. Psychotherapy, however, will address the root cause of an eating disorder and thus boost the effectiveness of other forms of treatment. Moreover, the above techniques will guarantee a long-lasting solution to eating disorders.

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