Eating Disorder Treatment

The patient is evaluated in detail with respect to the severity of illness and its medical complications. Once established, the patient is then advised treatment accordingly.

For severe illnesses and where medical complications have occurred, hospitalisation is often advised. However, treatment mainly involves supportive medical therapy with treatment of the underlying psychiatric illness.

Behaviour therapy and other Psychotherapies also play an important role. In some cases, family therapy also becomes very important.

What is eating disorder

Eating disorders are essentially disturbances of body image, wherein patients misinterpret their body shape and weight significantly. They fear gaining weight intensely and refuse to maintain a normal body weight. They may diet rigorously or join intense weight loss programs. Some may also engage in binge eating followed by purging behaviours. Sometimes the goal of thinness is pursued so intensely that it leads to starvation. Starvation consequently leads to a host of other medical complications.
The disorders are much more common in females, especially in the adolescent age group. They are commoner in developed countries, especially in women that are involved in professions that demand thinness, like modelling, ballet or movie industry. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulaemia nervosa and Binge Eating Disoders are all various types of eating disorders. Many of these eating disorders are co-morbid with Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: the persons suffering refuse to maintain a normal body weight, insisting that they are overweight. They may employ methods like extreme fasting, induced vomiting after meals, purging, sometimes abusing laxatives and diuretics, joining rigorous exercise programs, etc. Due to extreme starvation and weight loss, these patients appear cachexic and often suffer multiple medical complications like amenorrhoea, endocrine and cardiac disturbances. These complications may also lead to death.
  • Bulaemia Nervosa: the persons suffering maintain a near normal body weight, so the medical complications are less severe. However, these patients are also overly concerned with their body weight and shape. They suffer from episodes of eating in heavy binges. They then use vomiting, purging, rigorous exercise routines as compensatory methods to induce weight loss.
  • Binge Eating Disorder: persons suffering involve in recurrent binge eating episodes but not followed by induced vomiting /purging. Usually patients binge on sweet foods with soft textures. The binge consists of very large quantities of food, as compared to what the patient consumes normally at a time. Binges are mainly had alone or secretly to avoid embarrassment.