What are eating disorders?
The term “eating disorders” covers a broad range of issues related to unhealthy relationships with food rooted in deeper mental health concerns. People may overeat or undereat. They might vomit or use laxatives to control their weight. They may become malnourished by refusing to eat certain foods or by underusing medically prescribed insulin.
Eating disorders are one of the deadliest types of psychological illness. Someone dies as a result of an eating disorder about once every hour, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
People suffering from anorexia and bulimia are not vainly trying to become thin and attractive. They have diagnosable illnesses that make it difficult for them to think clearly about food or view their health and appearance rationally.
Treatment for eating disorders is difficult and requires long-term support. However, talk therapy can help clients recognize when they have irrational thoughts, cope with urges, and understand the underlying issues that drive them to binge, purge, or restrict their food consumption.
It is important to remember that people do not need an official diagnosis to talk to a therapist if they or their loved ones are worried about their eating habits. Eating disorders often appear in childhood and adolescence, and it is vital that young people receive help quickly before an eating disorder causes their physical and mental health to deteriorate.
How therapy can help people with eating disorders
A counselor can work with a client to develop a healthy eating schedule and exercise regimen. The therapist can also teach techniques to deal with urges to binge, purge, or restrict food intake.
Therapy can help people cope with immediate threats, but it is also important to understand the root issues that contribute to anorexia, bulimia or other disorders.
Each client is unique, but people with eating disorders often have feelings of worthlessness, fear, or envy. They may harbor unrealistic expectations of perfection, struggle to be flexible, or lie to others or to themselves.
Many people with eating disorders have other body image issues unrelated to weight. They criticize their facial features, bone structure, and other physical attributes. A therapist can help patients identify and correct these overly judgmental thought patterns and replace them with healthier ones that promote self-love.
Therapists may also suggest support groups with other people who have struggled with anorexia and bulimia. Sharing experiences and strategies with those who have faced the same issues can be helpful to manage eating disorders long-term.
Contact the MindSol Wellness Center of Sarasota, FL for help treating an eating disorder
MindSol Wellness Center counselors have experience helping patients with eating disorders take control, build their confidence, and live healthier lives. To schedule an appointment, call our Sarasota, FL office today at (941) 256-3725.