Eating Disorder: Definition
Eating disorders are not just about food but can be an outward sign of deep psychological and emotional turmoil. Clients have a serious disturbance in their eating behavior and an overwhelming, often irrational, concern over their body size and weight. There are three common Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. This group of disorders is characterized by physiological and/or psychological disturbances in appetite or food intake.
Eating Disorder: Treatment Plan
An Eating Disorder treatment plan is a multi-disciplinary approach and the treatment team would assess each client individually. The treatment team may consist of a pediatrician, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker and nutritionist, among possible others. The client’s treatment plan is developed based on individual needs.
- Family Therapy:
- A family-based approach is fostered with family/parental therapy sessions, as well as, support groups for parents. Psycho-educational sessions teach parents and clients about eating disorders, how to treat them and how to recognize signs of relapse. Families learn coping strategies to help them deal more successfully with their eating disordered child.
- Psychotherapy / Counseling:
- Dependent on treatment needs, individual counseling is offered to provide an opportunity for clients to explore the links between their thoughts, feelings and symptoms. Strategies taught within groups sessions are reinforced within the individual sessions. Any coexisting psychological difficulties are integrated into the client’s treatment plan.
- If needed, doctors sometimes prescribe antidepressant medications to treat eating disorders with coexisting psychological difficulties of depression and anxiety. Commonly, doctors prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa). At this time no particular drug has emerged as a definitive treatment for Eating Disorders, although medication is clearly useful for the symptom relief that makes it possible for clients to participate in psychotherapy.