Article Written By: Denver Therapist, Jessica Wright, LPC
The effects of eating disorders can oftentimes add obstacles on your path to getting to where you want to be. They can leave you feeling frozen and be debilitating, leading to feeling as if getting to the place you want to be is out of reach.
If ignored, they can have severe physical and emotional consequences impacting your mental health.
Individuals struggling with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, to name a few, can sometimes also struggle with other mental health conditions and associated disorders such as depression, anxiety, OCD, and substance abuse, as well as medical complications.
Seeking treatment can be challenging but there is hope in taking that step towards recovery.
What does treatment for an Eating Disorder look like?
Therapy can provide support with identifying and addressing the underlying causes of disordered eating behaviors and help with healthier coping skills.
Eating Disorder treatment can involve a combination of medical support to address any physical complications, nutritional counseling by a Registered Dietitian (RD) to restore physical health and develop helpful eating habits, meal support, medication from a psychiatrist, therapy, and support from loved ones.
Psychological treatment can also include group therapy that can focus on a wide range of topics related to eating disorders where individuals can learn from recovery experiences of others and receive support.
Family therapy which focuses on the role of family in the process of recovery is also an opportunity for families to explore their dynamics and identify effective ways of providing support to their loved ones who are struggling with an eating disorder.
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The role of the therapist can also be to help the client with establishing a comprehensive treatment team in all of these other areas of wellness.
Each of these domains can provide support with developing a treatment plan and set goals for recovery, provide resources to support treatment, and address negative thought patterns that often exist around the body and overall self-esteem.
Even though all of these areas of eating disorder treatment are crucial, talk therapy is a very important first step in getting help.
Individual therapy for disordered eating will provide support around monitoring mood, creating new habits and understanding and identifying eating disorder behaviors, and improving relationships with food, self, and interpersonal relationships.
Therapy can provide a safe space for clients to explore and understand the underlying issues that activate the Eating Disorder thoughts and behaviors.
Therapy can also focus on exploring issues such as feelings of shame and guilt around weight and food and self-esteem. It can be an opportunity to learn new ways of regulating emotions and learning new coping skills.
Through learning triggers for the eating disorder, therapy can support individuals with understanding these triggers and create a plan to manage times when they are activated by triggers in their environment.
What type of therapy can be used in Eating Disorder Treatment?
Treatment for an eating disorder is not a one size fits all approach. There are many different approaches that can help on the journey of recovery.
Here are a few types of therapeutic approaches that are used in the therapeutic work of recovering from an Eating Disorder:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) For Eating Disorder Treatment
A main component of ACT is learning acceptance that can involve accepting difficult emotions and thoughts without trying to change them.
This can be particularly challenging for individuals with eating disorders, who may be accustomed to using disordered eating behaviors as a way to cope with difficult emotions.
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By learning to accept these emotions, individuals with eating disorders can begin to develop healthier coping mechanisms. ACT can also increase openness and psychological flexibility which can help with shifting unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) For Eating Disorder Treatment
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on understanding and changing negative thoughts and behaviors. In the treatment of eating disorders, CBT can help you with identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs about food, weight, and body image, as well as helping you to identify healthier coping skills and improve your overall well-being.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) For Eating Disorder Treatment
DBT can help individuals to regulate their emotions and behaviors. It can help in the treatment of eating disorders by supporting individuals with developing skills such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.
The process of recovery from an eating disorder can be challenging and take some time. Taking an individualized treatment approach allows for each person’s unique needs to be met throughout therapy.
With the right treatment and support, it is possible to accomplish your goals and live a fulfilling life. Our eating disorder therapist at Denver Metro Counseling can help you work through your recovery.
Denver Therapist, Jessica Wright
Jessica Wright is an eating disorder therapist here in Denver, Colorado. Jessica also specializes in helping people make big transitions in their life whether its from one therapeutic level of care to another, moving, taking a new job, making decisions about their next steps in life, Jessica provides support through navigating these changes.
Tackling anxiety, overwhelm, stress and depression with effective coping skills and a relevant road map can be overwhelming in themselves. Jessica also helps people with ADHD, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and trauma navigate life more effectively.
Learn more about Jessica.