A Guide On Eating Disorder Treatments

Posted on: 5 January 2022

Eating disorders are severe medical conditions that affect the body's ability to get enough nutrition. Most people suffering from eating disorders tend to focus on their weight, shape, and food leading to negative eating behaviors. With an eating disorder treatment program, it is possible to develop appropriate feeding habits and reverse the complications. This post highlights the types, symptoms, and treatment approaches for eating disorders. 

What are Eating Disorders? 

An eating disorder involves a persistent disturbance in the eating or feeding behavior that alters the consumption and absorption of food. The feeding disorders significantly affect the body's physical and mental functioning. Typically, eating disorders do not discriminate as they affect people of different races, ethnicity, gender, and age groups. However, there is a high prevalence of eating disorders among adolescents and young adults. There are no known exact causes of eating disorders, although there is an attribution to genetics and biology or psychological and emotional problems. The disorders can be life-threatening since malnourishment affects the endocrine, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems.

The following are the significant types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa – involves intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat 
  • Bulimia Nervosa – involves recurrent binge-eating episodes, compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain, and biased self-evaluation based on body shape or weight 
  • Binge Eating Disorder – one overeats and feels a lack of control over their eating
  • Pica – eating one or more non-nutritive food substances for an extended period 
  • Rumination Disorder – involves recurrent and persistently regurgitating food after eating 
  • Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder – food avoidance due to sensory characteristics and fear for consequences of eating such as choking 

Symptoms of Eating Disorders 

Although the symptoms of eating disorders vary with the different types of conditions, some tell tales signals unhealthy behaviors. The following symptoms may be indicative of eating disorders:

  • Excess obsession with healthy eating
  • Skipping meals and making excuses to avoid feeding 
  • Persistent worry about being overweight  
  • Withdrawal from social activities and family eats 
  • Expression of disgust, shame, or guilt about eating habits 
  • Eating high-fat foods or sweets repeatedly 

Treatment for Eating Disorders 

Eating disorders treatment programs manage specific types of disorders. Typically, the eating disorder treatment center assesses how the condition affects the patient's body, mind, and life to determine appropriate inpatient or outpatient care. The treatment approach may involve a combination of psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family-based therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy. During the therapy session, patients discover unhealthy eating habits, develop problem-solving skills and coping mechanisms for negative emotions. Also, treatment may involve nutrition education to understand nutrition effects on the body, practice meal planning, and establish regular eating patterns. Besides, medications such as anti-depressants alleviate eating disorders' symptoms when combined with psychological therapy. 

Eating disorders pose serious health effects related to inadequate nutrition or excessive feeding. Seek ongoing treatment for health problems associated with eating disorders. The medical center will develop an eating disorder treatment program depending on the condition and severity.