Alternative Treatment for Eating Disorders

Generally, eating disorders involve self-critical, negative thoughts and feelings about body weight and food, and eating habits that disrupts normal body function, and daily life activities. A person with anorexia nervosa typically starves him or herself to be thin and experiences excessive weight loss, typically 15% below the weight that doctors consider ideal for his or her height and age. In some cases of anorexia, in addition to restricting their food intake kids use purging – by vomiting or taking laxatives – to control their weight.

Causes of Eating Disorders

What causes eating disorders is not entirely clear, though a combination of psychological, genetic, social and family factors are thought to contribute to the disorder.

Certain sports, such as ballet, gymnastics and wrestling are thought to potentially contribute to developing eating disorders because of the emphasis on leanness. There is also a role for genetics. Individuals who have a close relative with an eating disorder have an increased risk for also developing an eating disorder..

Sometimes, problems at home, such as drug or alcohol abuse, can put a child at higher risk to develop disordered eating behaviors.
And this concern can begin at an alarmingly young age. Research shows that 42% of first to third-grade girls wants to be thinner, and 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.

Types of eating disorders

The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.
· Anorexia – People with anorexia starve themselves out of an intense fear of becoming fat. Despite being underweight or even emaciated, they never believe they’re thin enough. In addition to restricting calories, people with anorexia may also control their weight with exercise, diet pills, or purging.
· Bulimia – Bulimia involves a destructive cycle of bingeing and purging. Following an episode of out-of-control binge eating, people with bulimia take drastic steps to purge themselves of the extra calories. In order to avoid weight gain they vomit, exercise, fast, or take laxatives.
· Binges Eating Disorder – People with binge eating disorder compulsively overeat, rapidly consuming thousands of calories in a short period of time. Despite feelings of guilt and shame over these secret binges, they feel unable to control their behavior or stop eating even when uncomfortably full.

Alternative Treatment for Eating Disorders

There are many treatment options for eating disorders. The right approach for each individual depends on his or her specific symptoms, issues, and strengths, as well as the severity of the disorder. To be most effective, treatment for an eating disorder must address both the physical and psychological aspects of the problem. The goal is to treat any medical or nutritional needs, promote a healthy relationship with food, and teach constructive ways to cope with life and its challenges Psychotherapy – Individual and group therapy can help your loved one explore the issues underlying the eating disorder, improve self-esteem, and learn healthy ways of responding to stress and emotional pain. Family therapy is also effective for dealing with the impact the eating disorder has on the entire family unit.

· Nutritional counseling – Dieticians or nutritionists are often involved in the treatment of eating disorders. They can help your loved one design meal plans, set dietary goals, and achieve a healthy weight. Nutritional counseling may also involve education about basic nutrition and the health consequences of eating disorders.
· Support groups – Attending an eating disorder support group can help your loved one feel less alone and ashamed. Run by peers rather than professionals, support groups provide a safe environment to share experiences, advice, encouragement, and coping strategies.
· Residential treatment –- Residential or hospital-based care may be required when there are severe physical or behavioral problems, such as a resistance to treatment, medical issues that require a doctor’s supervision, or continuing weight loss.

Eating disorders explained

Eating Disorders Are a Serious Issue

Eating disorders can affect both males and females, with a higher instance occurring in females. An eating disorder is a potentially deadly syndrome, or illness, that has a biological base. The predisposition of developing an eating disorder is heavily influenced by emotional, societal, and cultural factors. Many eating disorder patients suffer without any help or treatment simply because of the stigmas attached to eating disorders, but with proper treatment, recovery is attainable.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are three main types of eating disorders, and it is possible that symptoms of all three occur in one person. The three types are known as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, which are also known as compulsive overeating. Patients suffering from any of these disorders experience extreme emotions, attitude changes, and strange behaviors, especially related to food and weight issues. People suffering from any eating disorder tend to have a negative body image.

Anorexia Nervosa

Men and women suffering from anorexia nervosa engage in self-starvation and extreme weight loss. Patients typically refuse to maintain a normal body weight and have an intense fear of becoming fat or gaining any weight. Additionally, anorexia patients feel fat despite their actual weight. Females often stop having menstrual periods due to the extreme weight loss.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is defined by binge eating and purging, which is usually done in a secretive cycle. Binge eating is characterized by eating a large amount of food in a very short period of time, normally more than what most people would eat in one meal, or even a day. Purging to get rid of the food and corresponding calories through over-exercising, excessive laxative use, or even self-induced vomiting immediately follows the binging. Most patients experience repeated episodes of binging and purging and feel out of control during these episodes.

Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive overeating, or binge eating disorder, is similar to bulimia but has no episodes of purging. Patients suffering from compulsive overeating will eat continuously and impulsively even after they feel completely full. In place of purging, there can be sporadic fasting periods, repetitive dieting, and most often feelings of shame and self-hate. Most patients susceptible to binge eating disorder also suffer from anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

The Causes of Eating Disorders

While the underlying causes of any eating disorder has yet to be determined, it has been found that a combination of factors will contribute to the onset of the disorder. Many patients begin with frequent thoughts about or obsess over food and weight. However, behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors also affect the onset and severity of eating disorders. Often, eating disorder sufferers use food and the control of food to compensate for emotions or feelings that overwhelm them otherwise.


Because eating disorders can cause serious health problems and even death, it is important to get effective treatment and quickly. The earlier an eating disorder is detected and treated, the better chances a patient has of recovering. Usually, psychotherapy and counseling are the most effective treatments for any eating disorder. Accompanied with medical and nutritional monitoring, therapy is the most effective way to treat an eating disorder.