Did you know that almost one in 10 people worldwide have an eating disorder? In the U.S. alone, an estimated 28.8 million people will develop such an illness.
Those stats are scary enough, but what’s even worse is that they can be lethal. For example, there’s anorexia nervosa, considered the deadliest psychiatric disorder.
However, there’s still some good news: treatment options for eating disorders exist.
We’ll cover the most crucial facts you need to know about them in this guide, so read on.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT aims to pinpoint beliefs and thoughts that may trigger or lead to eating disorders. These may include perceptions about weight, body shape, looks, and food.
Once identified, therapists then teach patients techniques to change their thoughts.
An example of a CBT technique is cognitive restructuring. It involves turning negative thoughts into positive ones.
For instance, someone with anorexia may keep saying, “I won’t eat because I’m afraid to gain weight.” But, with the help of CBT, they may learn to think, “I will eat more healthily to manage my weight.”
Another technique is exposure therapy. With this, people learn to confront and cope with their fears and phobias.
During exposure therapy, a therapist exposes patients to things that make them afraid. However, the specialist also guides them and offers ways to cope with their fears.
In any case, therapies such as CBT may help treat eating disorders in adults and youth.
People with eating disorders often have nutritional problems when they seek treatment. For example, those with anorexia or bulimia may be underweight or malnourished. By contrast, those with a binge eating disorder may have high blood sugar levels.
For these individuals, getting help from a professional usually involves nutritional counseling. The treatment’s goal, in turn, is to teach them about healthy food choices. They can then take steps to address their dietary concerns.
Sometimes, patients with deficiencies may also need to supplement their diet. For instance, people with anorexia may lack zinc, copper, selenium, and the B and D vitamins. In this case, their doctor may tell them to take multivitamin and mineral supplements.
Medication for Co-Occurring Disorders
Eating disorders often co-exist with other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety. In these cases, medicines for treating the co-occurring problem may help.
Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are some examples. Research has shown that people with bulimia nervosa may benefit from them. For instance, they may help reduce symptoms like binge eating and purging.
However, note that drugs seem to work best if paired with therapy. Thus, it’s still best to seek help from a therapist and a psychiatrist. Their joint efforts may help yield better treatment outcomes.
Explore Treatment Options for Eating Disorders Today
Please remember that people with eating disorders have a higher risk for suicide. That’s on top of the many other health problems caused by their condition.
So, if you or a loved one has an eating disorder, please seek help ASAP. The sooner you do, the sooner you can find relief through the available treatment options.
Are you looking for other health and wellness guides like this? Then feel free to have a look at our other blog posts!