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Cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders


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We were mostly acquainted with cognitive behavioral therapy as a management tool for mental problems like memory loss and emotional complications involving depression, anxiety, stress etc. However, CBT is not limited only to these psychological challenges, rather it can effectively manage eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorders, etc. We explain you below how CBT works in this sphere…


How does cognitive behavioral therapy work for eating disorders?
Poor eating habits and bad lifestyle is one of the reasons behind eating disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to transform the way the person thinks about himself and eliminating the negative thoughts from the mind.


Cognitive evaluation
The therapist will evaluate the person’s health, note down his body’s weight and take account of his/her lifestyle and eating habits. Furthermore, there will be detailed analysis about his/her core thoughts, image of the body, negative beliefs and how he/she considers self worth. Apart from that other associated factors like depression, mental pressure, anxiety, stress, etc. will also be evaluated by the therapist.

The individual also get to know more about the illness and recognize the symptoms. Once these things are clear, doctors proceed towards bringing about change in cognitive thinking and behavior.


Behavioral change
The individual is allowed to purge negative emotions completely. Once the mind is free, the therapist helps to change his/her thinking process about the disease and self-made perceptions.

The techniques used to bring behavioral transformation are:


Modification of eating habits:
Your therapist will advise change in food intake as per the eating disorder and daily calorie need. This will stop the person from either starving or over eating. You will also be asked to maintain a food dairy where you will have to note down what you eat every day, the potion size and interval of eating. This record will be evaluated by your doctor during your visits and it will help ensure that you are improving upon your eating habits.


Taking action by utilizing cognitive tools
This is an important phase as the cognitive behavioral therapist will guide the patient to improving behavior towards self. Often people tend to harm them due to negative image about self, inability to lose weight, etc. The patient is allowed to express and there’s communication between him/her and the therapist. Several cognitive tools and copping strategies are applied to change behavioral action of the patient and also to overcome self destructive behavior like taking pills, use of alcohol, rigorous fasting, consumption of laxatives, etc. You will have to attend sessions and do homework at home to get rid of your eating disorder.

Managing physical health: The physical health of individual deteriorates to a large extent due to bad lifestyle, emotional challenges and bad eating habits. Once the eating habits and behavioral changes are incorporated, the physical health and well-being of the person also improves. This is like a bonus advantage of cognitive behavioral sessions. Problems like indigestion, acidity, weakness, fatigue, confusions, etc. get managed eventually.


How effective is cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders
The end result is dependent to a large extent on how well the patient follows the therapy and his/her regularity in attending session and of course his/her dedication towards self improvement. If all these things are taken care of, then CBT proves effective in treating eating disorders. However, you have to also continue your medical treatment sidewise if necessary.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: November 20, 2014

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