Therapy for eating disorders

Imagine being able to eat freely – without all the baggage that surrounds food.

Are you struggling when it comes to eating?

Perhaps you find yourself binge eating, vomiting after eating, avoiding eating altogether, over-exercising, or otherwise coping with the challenges of healthy eating in self-destructive ways, then you might benefit from help.

Eating disorders are very common. There is no shame in admitting that you need help to have a better relationship with food.

After all, we all have to eat every single day. And yet, food is tied up with so many other things in our worlds: body image, ideas of femininity and masculinity, confusion about what a “healthy” diet is. Food is often a social experience, which can complicate food issues even further. This often leads to disordered eating habits.

You aren’t alone.

And you don’t have to keep suffering every time you think about eating. You can work through the challenges that you have with food.

Imagine being able to just eat freely, when you want to, without all of the shame, guilt, stress, doubt, and confusion that you currently feel about food.

Therapy can help.

Get in touch

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What are the different types of eating disorders?

It’s important to understanding that there are many different types of eating disorders. The two most common that people know about are anorexia nervosa (commonly associated with restricting food intake) and bulimia nervosa (associated with bingeing and purging). You may have one of those issues in its pure form or you may have a variation of either of them.

With anorexia nervosa, you restrict your calories and avoid eating. This leads to very low body weight. People who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 18.5 are considered underweight, which can be a warning sign of anorexia nervosa.

Other traits common to people who struggle with anorexia nervosa include:

  • Excessive fear of gaining weight
  • Concerns about being fat even if they have objectively low weight
  • Avoiding food, especially food considered fattening
  • May include periods of fasting
  • Judging own self-worth on how thin they are or what they’ve been eating

People with bulimia nervosa have some similarities to people with anorexia nervosa. The biggest commonality is that people with either condition judge themselves harshly based on weight, body shape, and food intake.

Someone with bulimia nervosa may exhibit some of the same behaviors as a person with anorexia nervosa. For example, they may severely restrict their food intake. The difference is that this alternates with periods of binge eating.

With bulimia nervosa, you may restrict your food intake but then feel that you’ve completely lost control and binge on a huge amount of food.

Then you regret it and try to control your body with a return to food restriction or through other means including inducing vomiting, use of laxatives, or extreme amounts of exercise. Then the cycle repeats itself.

If bulimia nervosa is somewhat like anorexia but with periods of binge eating, binge-eating disorder is bulimia without the elements of anorexia nervosa. In other words, the individual overeats but does not do the purging or food restriction that we see in bulimia nervosa.

People with binge-eating disorder may over-eat on a regular basis in addition to huge binges on food. As a result, people with this condition often have a high BMI.

In order to receive a diagnosis of one of the above conditions, the individual has to meet certain criteria (as is the case with any mental health diagnosis). However, you may experience disordered eating that doesn’t rise to that level. People can have a subtype, low frequency, or limited duration version of any of the above conditions. This can be just as distressing to the individual, and therapy can help.

Additionally, there are other types of eating disorders. For example, purging disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa without the binge eating. The person tries to control their weight through induced vomiting and/or laxatives, even though they don’t binge on food. Other examples of eating disorders including Night Eating Disorder (which is what it sounds like) and Rumination Disorder (which is voluntary regurgitation of food).

Notably, one form of eating disorder can turn into another. For example, many people who start off with anorexia nervosa end up developing bulimia nervosa. Regardless of the form of eating disorder that you experience, the experience itself is distressing. Therapy can help.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E) is widely considered one of the most effective treatments for eating disorders.

CBT-E therapy helps treat eating disorders

Also called Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy, CBT-E is an evidence-based treatment method that follows an established format known to help people struggling with any type of eating disorder.

Although CBT-E is a structured therapy utilizing proven techniques, it’s also a highly-individualized therapy. A therapist trained in CBT-E will tailor the structure to fit your exact needs and issues, making the most of your strengths and skills so that you can have the best chance of successfully overcoming your eating disorder.

Generally speaking, what you can expect from CBT-E therapy includes:

  • One-to-one talk therapy
  • Teamwork with your therapist to understand your eating disorder in all of its aspects
  • Addressing the origin of the problem as needed but emphasizing a focus on the present and future
  • Task-oriented sessions with your therapist to achieve results
  • Continuous treatment, beginning with two sessions per week and gradually lessening as you overcome your condition

Food is going to be a part of your life forever. Imagine the relief that you’ll feel when it’s no longer something causing you distress. Therapy can help you reach that day sooner than you might think. Contact me today for an appointment.