Healing from eating disorders can be challenging. That’s why it is important to receive quality treatment from a facility that prioritizes holistic healing. When clients heal on all levels, this allows them to create a healthy, happy life. Many different treatments and therapies can be helpful for eating disorders, depending on the disorder as well as the client’s unique situation. Addressing eating disorders is important because eating disorders can cause lifelong detrimental effects. In some cases, they can even be fatal or lead to long-term illnesses.
First Steps Recovery offers a variety of therapies to help clients heal from their eating disorders. Creating a safe space for clients to heal is a priority. Clients are provided with personalized treatment plans where they can heal and learn different coping mechanisms to improve their quality of life.
Different Types of Eating Disorders
There are many different kinds of eating disorders, each with its own signs and symptoms. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorders, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).
The most well-known eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, is a potentially fatal eating disorder in which one avoids or severely restricts food. The client may be either extremely restrictive with the type and amount of food they consume or have binge episodes. During these binge episodes, they will eat large amounts of food in a short period of time followed by vomiting in order to eliminate the food. Symptoms include extreme thinness and/or pursuing extreme thinness regardless of healthy body weight. Additionally, one can have a distorted body image, a fear of gaining weight, brittle hair, and infertility.
On the other hand, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where one has many episodes of overeating which is compensated for by forced vomiting, using laxatives, fasting, and/or excessively exercising. Some symptoms include worn tooth enamel from frequent vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, intestinal irritation, and electrolyte imbalance. Binge-eating disorder, on the other hand, involves one losing control over their eating and having recurring episodes of overeating without trying to compensate afterward. Symptoms include eating while feeling full or not hungry, eating quickly during binge episodes, eating until uncomfortably full, and feeling shame or guilt about one’s eating habits.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
ARFID is known as a selective eating disorder where the client limits the amount or type of food they consume. This disorder is mostly common in middle childhood. Those with ARFID often do not have a distorted body image or fear gaining weight. Still, these people do not consume enough calories for proper development and growth. Some symptoms of this disorder include dramatic restriction of food intake, lack of appetite, dramatic weight loss, and a limited range of preferred foods.
Treating Eating Disorders at First Steps Recovery
Due to the range of eating disorders and how each disorder varies among clients, it’s important to have a wide selection of therapies and treatments. Each client is different, and having a variety of recovery pathways is necessary. The most common treatments for eating disorders are individual or group therapies, family psychotherapy, medical care and monitoring, nutrition counseling, and medication if necessary. Clients are sometimes prescribed antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers. This is because clients coping with eating disorders commonly experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. Those medications assist with those symptoms.
At First Steps Recovery, many clinical and holistic services are offered and encouraged for clients with eating disorders.
Clinical Therapies and Treatments for Eating Disorders
Aside from individual and group talk therapies, First Steps Recovery also offers cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
CBT is an evidence-based therapy that is based on the belief that psychological problems are affected by destructive thinking patterns and learned behaviors that are also detrimental. It follows, then, that those who suffer from these issues can relieve their symptoms by learning helpful coping mechanisms and behaviors.
Unlearning destructive thinking and behavior is complex, but clients benefit greatly from the opportunity to more effectively problem-solve and gain confidence. With a therapist, clients begin dissecting their thought patterns. From there, clients learn to reconstruct their thinking to produce healthier thoughts and behaviors. Clients with eating disorders begin to see how their minds encourage destructive eating habits. They realize they can transform these habits.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR is a treatment that helps clients process past traumas. Clients with eating disorders always have underlying causes of their disorder, and at times the root cause is associated with trauma. In EMDR, the client moves their eyes as directed by the therapist while processing the traumatic memory. From there, they reprocess their thoughts and emotions about the experience to produce more manageable feelings. Clients with eating disorders can start to reprocess that root experience in order to naturally produce healthier eating habits.
Holistic Treatments for Eating Disorders
At First Steps Recovery, mindfulness therapy and physical therapy are two options clients recovering from eating disorders can consider.
Mindfulness therapy typically involves meditation, which promotes calmness and overall well-being. Clients develop a deep connection between the mind and body, which helps them gain control over both. With consistent practice, clients become more able to manage their lives with an overall healthier mindset. Through this, clients with eating disorders can develop control over their cravings and destructive thoughts. Ultimately, mindfulness practice helps pave the way for healthier eating habits.
Physical therapy has many components that involve a focus on health and wellness. This therapy involves education about nutrition, supplementation, exercise, and overall mental health. Clients then implement these strategies. Paying active attention to the physical body helps clients with eating disorders connect with their physical selves more and understand their bodies on a deeper level. From this deeper understanding and education about nutrition and health, clients can start to make healthy decisions that are right for their bodies.
Here at First Steps Recovery, we understand that eating disorders are very complex. Each client has a unique experience with an eating disorder, especially as there is a wide variety of eating disorders. We offer a variety of both clinical and holistic care options for all clients. With this whole-person approach, clients can begin to heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), mindfulness therapy, and physical therapy may be a beneficial combination for helping a client produce healthier eating habits. To learn more about our services for clients coping with an eating disorder, please reach out to us at (844) 489-0836.