Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorders, like substance use disorders, are conditions that require a fully comprehensive treatment approach. It is equally as important to address the physical components of an eating disorder as it is the psychological components. When both the physical and psychological aspects of a binge eating disorder, anorexia, or bulimia are addressed simultaneously, patients can begin to fully recover and learn how to manage their eating disorders in healthy ways.

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Types of Treatment Programs

The types of treatment programs proven to be most effective for patients looking to recover from an eating disorder include the following:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment programs require patients to remain at the facility throughout the entirety of their treatment. Inpatient treatment is recommended for those individuals who, from a physical standpoint, suffer from unstable vital signs, acute health risks, and complications caused by pre-existing health issues. Additionally, inpatient treatment is appropriate for those who are suicidal or whose symptoms of the disorder are becoming worse. When in inpatient treatment, patients will benefit from the 24/7 medical and psychiatric care provided by specialists and healthcare professionals.

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization is a viable option for patients who are medically stable but are struggling with a number of other challenges as a result of their disorder. For example, when an eating disorder impacts the patient’s ability to function without risk, or when he or she requires regular psychiatric assessments, partial hospitalization is the best choice. While in a partial hospitalization program, patients who struggle to function in regular social situations or who continue to partake in binge eating, purging, or fasting can benefit from the supervision and care offered through this program.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Similar to intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorders, this specific kind of treatment works best for those who are both medically and psychologically stable, who do not require any medical supervision, and who are able to control symptoms while progressing in treatment. Patients will go to the facility during their weekly scheduled times to engage in therapy sessions deemed appropriate for their specific treatment needs, such as individual therapy, behavioral therapy, or trauma therapy.

Therapies for Eating Disorders

Within each type of eating disorder treatment program are several different therapies that are evidence-based and clinically sound. Each therapy provided has proven to affect positive, lasting change for patients looking to end active eating disorders. Some of the most common therapies for eating disorders include the following:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, is a form of therapy designed to encourage patients to change their behaviors, not their emotions. This can sound complicated to do, but when patients learn how to remove their feelings with how they behave, true transformation can occur. For example, ACT can help patients who are emotional eaters erase the connection between feeling sad and turning to food to cope.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be one of the most widely used types of treatment in the world, as it can help those struggling with all types of conditions, including eating disorders. The period of time that a patient will spend in CBT sessions will be relatively short, as studies have shown that what is learned in CBT is easily retained. This form of therapy focuses on challenging negative and/or disproportionate beliefs about oneself, such as how they look physically or how much they weigh. Through this challenge, patients are encouraged to develop new, positive beliefs to replace those negative ones.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Eating disorders are often treated through the use of dialectical behavior therapy, which has been utilized for decades to help treat anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders. Like cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy works to help patients modify their behaviors, but through emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness. When these skills are adapted and applied, the physical behaviors associated with eating disorders can be remedied.

Benefits of Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorders can be extremely painful conditions that not only affect one’s outward appearance but also cause damage to their psychiatric wellbeing. When receiving eating disorder treatment, patients can begin to work on both the physical and mental components of their condition in an effort to regain control over their lives and diets.

Above all else, when someone with an eating disorder enters into eating disorder treatment, he or she is immediately much safer than he or she was before. This is because he or she will be in the care of healthcare professionals who can help them end their destructive behaviors and begin replacing them with ones that will support their recovery. No longer will these individuals be at risk for starving to death or suffering from additional health complications. Also, patients will also benefit in the following ways:

  • Education will be provided regarding the type of eating disorder they have, how it impacts their brains and bodies, and how it can be treated and managed
  • Support can be obtained through several outlets, such as from therapists and other patients who are recovering at the same time
  • Therapies (like those listed above) can aid in patients getting to the root causes of why their eating disorder occurred and what sustained it
  • Resources will be offered both during and after treatment so that no matter how a patient is feeling, he or she will always be able to reach out for support or help
  • Physical health can be restored through beginning a healthy, well-balanced diet and proper exercise

Each patient who gets treatment for an eating disorder can benefit from several different things during their care. When the patient puts forth his or her determination and devotion to him or herself, he or she can make a full recovery and learn how to prevent relapse in the future.

At JourneyPure, we can help you or a loved one who is experiencing an eating disorder. If you are ready to make the change, do not wait. You are worth the call for help.

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