Treatment types for Eating Disorders
There are a number of different treatment methods for eating disorders, focusing on different issues but all with one aim. The specific issues relating to a patient means they may be better suited to one type of treatment than another. Below is a selection of the main methods of treatment and their approaches.
CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a talking therapy which aims to alter the way you think and behave as a way of treating your issues. It focuses on your thought trails and the way they affect your actions. CBT looks at the pattern cycle between negative thoughts which then lead to negative actions, which in turn increase the negative thoughts. You will learn to recognize negative thoughts and find ways to amend them before they affect your actions. CBT tends to focus on the present and editing your actions instead of dwelling on the past and examining causes. The therapy usually lasts between 6 weeks and 6 months with patients normally attending one hour session a week.
Interpersonal therapy may be offered to you if you have not improved after CBT. It is a short-term therapy looking at the interpersonal issues of the patient and the way they are affecting the eating disorder. The focus is less on the disorder itself and more on the interpersonal issues which could be the cause. It usually attend 15-20 50-minute sessions over four to five months.
Counselling is a talking therapy that allows the patient to share their thoughts and emotions in a safe, comfortable environment with a counsellor offering support and empathy. They tend to offer a listening ear rather than handing out advice. Counselling can either take place one-to-one, in a group, on the phone or via email.
There are many self-help resources available for eating disorder sufferers including books and web pages. There are also self-help and support groups all over the country available for all.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are an antidepressant drug used to treat Bulimia Nervosa or Binge-eating disorders. They tend to be used in conjunction with talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. They are mainly used when depression is present in conjunction with an eating disorder. The benefit of SSRIs is usually felt after 2-4 weeks from the beginning of taking them.
Hypnotherapy is aimed at altering thought patterns and changing the way the patient thinks. It takes the focus away from food and places it more on the mind. Sharon Stiles is a hypnotherapist working with eating disorder sufferers; she is also trained in CBT and NLP. Here she explains more about her method:
Below are some useful links for eating disorder help, whether you suffer yourself or know someone who does.
Beat: Beating Eating Disorders
MGEDT (Men Get Eating Disorders Too
National Centre for Eating Disorders
SEED: Eating Disorder Support Service