What various treatment options involve

What will the various treatment options will involve

Eating disorders are complex conditions and therefore it can take a number of different professionals to treat them.

Your doctor should be able to make a diagnosis and tell you what eating disorder you have. They may refer you to see a specialist who will then assess your condition and determine your treatment needs.

Eating disorders affect people both physically and emotionally so you’re treatment needs will be tailored to address this. For instance, if you’re weight is dangerously low this will be a priority and your treatment will focus on this. You may also be offered psychological therapy to help you with any emotional difficulties that might be fuelling or caused by your eating disorder. Sometimes you might be offered a dietician to work with meal plans and food choices.

If you are a young person, you might be offered family therapy. This will help your family to better understand your illness and learn strategies to support themselves so they can support you. Many have found this kind of therapy extremely effective in getting better having the reassurance your family is working with you to recover.

The majority of treatment involves outpatient care. You will only need inpatient care if you are extremely ill and/or there are complications caused by your eating disorder. If you need to stay in inpatient care you will be asked to stay in a hospital ward – usually an eating disorders unit. The length of time you spend there varies and is determined by the specialists and the length of your stay cannot always be determined from the beginning of treatment and depends on the progress you make in hospital

The specialists will then discharge you when they are happy with your progress and believe you can sustain your recovery outside a hospital environment. Some people will be in hospital for a few weeks or months and sometimes longer. However most hospital stays are around 6-8 weeks on average. This may sound like a long time, but when you are severely unwell the body can take time to recover.

In some instances, where people are so unwell and their life is at risk they can be admitted to hospital care without their consent under the Mental Health Act. Legal safeguards are in place so that doctors use this power. Each hospital has a team for monitoring compulsory admissions and you can ask to speak to them if you have any questions about compulsory admission during your stay.

Before a doctor considers a compulsory admission you will usually be given the opportunity to make a decision on your own care and decide to attend hospital voluntarily, taking this decision can often be valuable in helping you feel in control of your care.

Psychological therapies (also known as talking treatments) can be helpful for most people with eating disorders. Such therapies usually offered include and what it will involve:

Counselling and psychotherapy: The counsellor or physiotherapist will first talk to you about the feelings behind your behaviours relating to your eating disorder. They will help you to explore how it might have started and how you can change how you think and feel about things. A good therapist will help you do this in a way which helps you to better cope with your difficulties. They should help you to value yourself more and help build your self-esteem. Usually you will work with a therapist for one hour a week for any number of weeks or months.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): This looks at how your mood is affected by your thoughts and by your behaviour (i.e. bingeing and purging). It helps you to develop practical ways of solving problems by changing both how you think and what you do by focusing on present and past events. Usually you will be offered 6 to 12 one hour sessions but sometimes additional sessions might be offered.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): This concentrates on your relationships with other people. If you have experienced trauma, distress or a difficult change in your life that has had an impact on you emotionally. It will help you build more supportive relationships that can better meet your emotional needs rather than eating. Usually you will be offered 10 one hour sessions but sometime additional sessions might be offered.

Group therapy: Sometimes people are more likely to open up and talk about how they feel in groups rather than one to one. Group discussions allow people with eating disorders to relate their experiences with others alike and make better sense of their situation.

Occupational therapy: This is another form of therapy and may include art, music and drama. You are encouraged to express how they think and feel through drawing, painting and sculpture, music or drama based activities. The work you produce is then evaluated by a therapist specialising in this form of treatment. People often find this kind of therapy relaxing, as well as helpful at exploring underlying emotions that they may not be able to describe in words during one to one therapy.

The types of treatment available varies around the country and where you are depends on the treatment options you are offered. You might want to check what treatment options are available by contacting your local NHS

'Men Get Eating Disorders Too' is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 1139351.

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