Eating disorder recovery is a long and arduous process, but with dedication and proper medical and psychological supervision, a full recovery is possible. Psychotherapy is a vital part of the recovery process, since a therapist can help the patient to address the issues behind the eating disorder. While physicians and nutritionists care for the patient’s physical health and nutrition needs during the recovery from an eating disorder, individual and group psychotherapy can help the patient learn to replace negative ideas and beliefs with positive ones. They can also help the patient to focus on health and strength rather than weight and size, and to overcome specific past traumas that may have contributed to the eating disorder.
Why Psychotherapy is Necessary for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder, cause serious negative health effects that may require medical care. The recovery process should be supervised by a medical doctor, who will measure the patient’s progress as he or she recovers physically from the effects of the eating disorder. A nutritionist will teach the patient about healthy eating and ensure that she eats right during the recovery process.
Eating disorders are psychological in nature, so psychotherapy is a vital part of the recovery process. A psychotherapist can identify the issues that have caused the eating disorder, and can help the patient replace destructive habits, thoughts and behaviors with positive, constructive ones. Psychotherapy can help those with eating disorders improve their relationships, self esteem and body image.
How Psychotherapists Treat Eating Disorders
Psychotherapists treat eating disorders by first helping their patients acknowledge that an eating disorder exists, and identify the nature of that disorder. The psychotherapist then helps the patient identify unhealthy and irrational thoughts, fears, beliefs and perceptions that may be contributing to the disorder. They’ll treat her for any depression or anxiety that may be exacerbating the eating disorder, and they’ll help her learn to cope with stress in healthy ways. Finally, the therapist will help the patient learn to identify and ignore the triggers that cause eating disorder behaviors.
A psychotherapist offers emotional support during the eating disorder recovery process. Psychotherapy helps the patient overcome traumas that may have contributed to the eating disorder, and can help improve patient self esteem. Psychotherapy can help the patient remain energized, optimistic and hopeful during the long recovery process.
The most common form of therapy used to treat eating disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy, in which the therapist helps the patient to recognize and change unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. Interpersonal psychotherapy, group therapy and family therapy may also be used.
Nutrition and Medical Care During the Recovery Process
Eating disorders are psychological in nature, but they also cause severe health problems. Those recovering from an eating disorder will need medical supervision during the recovery process, to ensure that they are recovering physically as well as mentally and emotionally from the eating disorder. A nutritionist can help the patient learn to eat in healthy ways, and can ensure that she receives the nutrition needed during the recovery process. A pscyhopharmacologist can recommend medications that might assist in the eating disorder recovery process.