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An eating disorder is a serious health condition involving extremely unhealthy dietary habits. There are a number of accepted eating disorder treatments that depend on the symptoms and severity of the illness. The most effective treatments involve both psychological as well as physical issues with the ultimate goal being a healthy dietary lifestyle. The team approach to treatment involves professionals with experience in eating disorders that usually includes a medical provider, mental health workers, registered dieticians and case managers. These individuals work together in hopes of avoiding a life threatening situation.
Psychotherapy or psychological counseling is an integral part of comprehensive eating disorder treatments. With a trained counselor, the patient can develop ways to cope with the issues that led to the disorder. This is especially important in anorexia nervosa treatments because of the overwhelming fear of becoming overweight. Hopefully a psychotherapist can get to the root of these fears and develop effective measures to take for recovery. Anorexia is considered to be a lifelong illness, and counseling may continue indefinitely. There are no medicines for anorexia, but antidepressants are often prescribed in conjunction with other treatments.
Nutritional counseling with the help of a registered dietitian is essential in all eating disorder treatments. Binge eating treatments focus on meeting nutritional needs by ensuring the correct vitamins and minerals are included in the diet, for example. The dietician can help adjust the foods consumed to meet changing health needs. Binge eating may be caused by certain biological factors such as a malfunctioning hypothalamus, low serotonin levels and genetic mutation. There are several medications on the market that may help with binge eating, and these should be prescribed by a doctor.
Support groups can be a valuable addition to eating disorder treatments. These groups of people with similar eating disorders make the patient feel less alone, and they receive advice and encouragement. Bulimia nervosa treatments typically involve group therapy for education about the condition as well as strategies to beat it. Antidepressants are often prescribed to help treat bulimia in addition to the other facets of treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven effective for those with bulimia, and is often considered the treatment of choice.