Eating disorder is a serious issue that poses severe threats to a person’s well-being. This type of disorder varies greatly in causes and symptoms and, therefore, treatments. However, there are steps that every person with an eating disorder can follow. In order to provide patients with adequate treatment, a medical professional needs to know the root causes of the disorder and modify these steps accordingly.
The first step in the recovery journey for eating disorder patients is to see a mental health professional. Phycological therapy provides the patient with an opportunity to contextualize their disorder and find the motivation to fight against it. There are several types of therapeutic approaches to the subject, and each of them focuses on various aspects of the disorder. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy provides methods of coping, and cognitive processing therapy focuses on unpacking trauma and ways a person uses their coping mechanisms to deal with it. There are types of therapies that include social aspects, such as dialectical behavioral therapy and family therapy.
Another kind of therapy that could be employed to treat an eating disorder is art therapy. Disciplines of art therapy have been developed as a collaborative effort among artists, educators, psychotherapists, and social/health workers. The value that this method places on creativity provides excellent results. It employs non-verbal communication, imagery, and symbolism in order to give the patients an opportunity to connect their psychological and emotional states. There are four main types of art therapy, which include art, music, drama, and dance. Eating disorders are more prevalent in the female population, so when using therapeutic methods, one must account for demographic factors (Bucharová et al., 2020). For example, in the case of working with women in art therapy settings, it could be beneficial to use feminist rhetoric in performance or creation.
The next step involves a registered dietician to provide insight into nutrition and help plan meals. A well-planned meal regimen serves to provide a sense of control to the patient’s life and gives them an opportunity to learn more about their food preferences outside of what eating disorder dictates them. Medical and/or dental specialists are the next step, which aims to mend the damage done by the disorder. If need be, they could prescribe medication or suggest additional strategies to combat the condition. Dental work also helps with conquering eating disorders in the sense that it serves as a motivator for the patient not to relapse.
The last step is for the patient to inform their family members, partner, and friends. In the process of recovery, the patient will experience self-doubt, stress, and fits of depression. The support that their loved ones can provide is an essential component in this vulnerable time. Family therapy is useful, particularly with adolescence; however, it could be employed successfully with people of all ages. Group therapy does not necessarily include family members; partner and friends can participate in group activities, such as sharing a meal during a therapy session.
In conclusion, the treatment of eating disorders is a complex matter. Medical and social workers need to be able to dig into the root causes of the condition and plan their actions accordingly. There are several strategies that could be used for treatment, including various cognitive therapies and art therapy. An important aspect of recovery is emotional support from loved ones. Family members, friends, and partners can partake in therapy sessions as well as provide moral support when the person is feeling vulnerable or defeated.
Bucharová, M., Malá, A., Kantor, J., & Svobodová, Z. (2020). Arts therapies interventions and their outcomes in the treatment of eating disorders: Scoping review protocol. Behavioral Sciences, 10(12), 188.
Eating disorder treatment: Know your options (n.d). Web.