Treating the Disease, Not Just the Symptoms

Eating disorders are a growing form of mental illness that effects individuals all across the globe.  It leads all mental illnesses with the number of annual deaths resulting from the condition.  Anyone that is suffering from this kind of condition should immediately seek professional help.  Eating disorder recovery has some very specific goals that will allow patients to take back control over their own lives.  Treatment plans aim to restore patients to a healthy state of nutrition, reduce physical behaviors that are aimed at weight loss, and cease the binging and purging cycle inherent with the disease.

Accomplishing these goals usually requires treatment that is holistic and deals with many aspects of the patient’s life.  Restoring a healthy relationship with food often requires addressing deeply-seated issues that initially caused the development of the disorder.  Tackling and resolving these issues is typically done through some form of psychotherapy.  Often called “talk therapy,” patients engage in one on one sessions with a trained professional in addition to the possibility of group sessions with others that suffer from the same condition.  However, extreme cases of this disorder are yet to yield extremely reliable methods of treatment.


The typical recovery center will require patients to undergo psychotherapy, maintain regular medical care and observation, take some form of medication, and engage in nutritional counseling.  Additional complications sometimes apply to patients when they are first admitted to treatment.

Malnutrition often requires that patients be hospitalized for a certain period of time in order that they can be in a condition in which treatment will be effective.

Eating disorders come in two forms: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.  The treatments for both conditions must be tailored to some degree for each patient.  The different methods of treatment display the most variety when it comes to dealing with the psychological and family histories of the patient.  Patients that suffer from these disorders are typically prescribed anti-psychotics and mood-stabilizers to ease anxiety symptoms that are associated.  Antidepressants, in general, have not showed results that are as effective as the more serious medications mentioned above.  However, medication alone has not been shown to be effective in allowing the patient to gain weight.

Some of the less conventional forms of therapy include the Maudsley approach.  In this treatment, parents assume the responsibility of regulating the food intake of the patient.  This method has been shown to be extremely effective in adolescents and patients whose condition has not yet become chronic.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is another form of recovery that has shown good results.  This therapy helps the patient to better identify the thoughts that lead to particular actions related to their disorder.  By recognizing these triggers and taking back control over their own actions, the patients are able to curb the compulsions that cause their condition to worsen.