The complex interaction of emotional and physiological problems in eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder) calls for a comprehensive treatment plan, involving a variety of experts and approaches. Ideally, the treatment team includes an internist, a nutritionist, an individual psychotherapist, and a psychopharmacologist--someone who is knowledgeable about psychoactive medications useful in treating these disorders. (Note: If you or someone you love needs help for an eating disorder, please contact us at The Village.)
To help those with eating disorders deal with their illness and underlying emotional issues, some form of psychotherapy is usually needed. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional meets with the patient individually and provides ongoing emotional support, while the patient begins to understand and cope with the illness. Group therapy, in which people share their experiences with others who have similar problems, has been especially effective for individuals with bulimia.
Use of individual psychotherapy, family therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy--a form of psychotherapy that teaches patients how to change abnormal thoughts and behavior--is often the most productive. Cognitive-behavior therapists focus on changing eating behaviors usually by rewarding or modeling wanted behavior. These therapists also help patients work to change the distorted and rigid thinking patterns associated with eating disorders.
For more information or to make an appointment to see a counselor, contact The Village Family Service Center.