Eating disorders are an incredibly prevalent concern in the mental health field! According to the The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders approximately 9% of people will experience an eating disorder at some point in their life! These numbers become even greater for BIPOC and LGBT communities. Over the years, large volumes of research have been done to better understand our treatment options, so we can help those who are struggling! Today, we are going to break down treatments for eating disorders!
The psychotherapeutic treatments for eating disorders have been shown to provide significant levels of relief to individuals struggling with eating disorders! More specifically there are several treatment styles that tend to see the best results. Generally speaking, children tend to see the highest levels of success and remission from family based therapy (Lock et al., 2010; Davis & Attia, 2019). This intervention involves intensive outpatient therapy that seeks to involve both the child and their parents to work together toward restoring a healthy relationship with food (Mayo Clinic, 2015).
For adults, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is seen as the gold standard (Davis & Attia, 2019). This form of therapy involves retraining the brain to disrupt negative thought patterns and develop healthier coping mechanisms for stress (Mayo Clinic, 2019). However, CBT does not work for everyone. If you find that CBT treatments are not helpful there are other less popular options such as Maudsley’s Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA), Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Cognitive-Analytical Therapy, and many more (Zeeck et al., 2018)!
Pharmacological interventions can also be incredibly helpful for eating disorders. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed “off label” (Prescription of a drug to treat something that it was not specifically FDA approved to treat) with lots of success. Fluoxetine (or Prozac) is one of the only antidepressants that has been FDA approved to treat bulimia nervosa (Davis & Attia, 2019).
Both of these methods of treatment are great tools in our arsenal to provide relief for those who are struggling. Living with an eating disorder is an incredibly taxing burden to carry. Treatment is a step in a positive direction toward remission. With each passing day, more research is conducted to find even better and more efficient forms to treat this condition!