Treating Eating Disorders
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eating Disorders-
You feel what you think…
Connecting feelings, thoughts and deeds:
Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat eating disorders, and is a critical element at all levels of care. It’s based on the theory that emotions, behaviors and thoughts are all connected.
People with eating disorders, for example, tend to hold a negatively distorted view of themselves, and often convey thoughts that are highly critical about their body and overall appearance. This results in feelings of anxiety, disgust and shame, which may lead the individual to control their weight even further.
The more the patient can challenge and eventually change their obsessively self-critical thoughts, the less shame and anxiety they’ll experience. During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, patients learn to tolerate negative emotion, solve problems, manage stress and become more aware of themselves.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an active type of counseling. Sessions usually are held once a week for as long as you need to master new skills. During cognitive-behavioral therapy for anorexia, you learn:
- About your illness, its symptoms, and how to predict when symptoms will most likely recur.
- To keep a diary of eating episodes, binge eating, purging, and the events that may have triggered these episodes.
- To eat more regularly, with meals or snacks spaced no more than 3 or 4 hours apart.
- How to change the way you think about your symptoms—this reduces the power the symptoms have over you.
- How to change self-defeating thought patterns into patterns that are more helpful. This improves mood and your sense of mastery over your life. This helps you avoid future episodes.
- Ways to handle daily problems differently.
- Breathing exercises for controlling physical symptoms of stress. When you calm your breathing, your body and mind also become calm.