Anorexia and bulimia are the two most common eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa is a persistent, irrational perception of being too fat. Bulimia is binge eating, usually followed by vomiting to compensate. Both have complex causes, but both eating disorders are treatable.

The causes are imperfectly understood and the treatments sometimes lengthy and complex. So, many sufferers have a confusing array of questions about eating disorder treatments. But, among all their worthwhile questions, three stand out.

How Can I Change?

The question is a good one, but it reflects a not-so-hidden fear that the patient is 'stuck', permanently locked into a self-destructive behavior. Yet it also contains the seed of a success story. It's an implicit recognition that: "I have a problem. I want to change. I'm just not sure it's possible."

That alone is a huge step forward. It suggests an eating disorder treatment all by itself. Through psychological and nutrition counseling the anorexic or bulimic individual can build on that initial position. He or she can bring into conscious awareness the roots of the problem — how it occurred and why it persists.

It's important for anyone suffering from an eating disorder to keep firmly in mind: all treatment starts from within. Professionals, educated loved ones, and others can be a tremendous source of help on the road to recovery. But, ultimately, it is the patient who has to open up. She has to face the reality of her condition and commit to long-

What Will My Eating Disorder Treatment Be Like?

Everyone faced with the prospect of difficult change wants to know just how difficult it will be. What specific form will it take? The causes are as complex and individual as the person suffering from anorexia or bulimia. So, eating disorder treatments are equally complex and varied.

Specific treatment options can only be detailed by a professional after consultation with the individual (and, sometimes, his or her family). Fortunately, there are patterns within that bewildering variety. It is possible to answer the question in general.

It's rare for an eating disorder to be chiefly the result of purely physical factors. That puts the main emphasis on psychological counseling. The specific approaches vary among therapists. But, after treating physical effects, almost always involve an attempt to:
(a) get the patient to fully accept responsibility for her present and future,
(b) alter mistaken perceptions of body image.

That leads to changes in behavior and health.

How Difficult (and Long) Will Treatment Be?

This is another good question, but one impossible to answer specifically. Patients and treatments are unique. Fundamentally, the treatment never 'ends'. Success always involves a life-long commitment to a permanent change in thinking and choices. Naturally, changing ingrained habits doesn't happen overnight.

That said, it's common for the first phase of eating disorder treatments to last no more than a few months to a year. It starts with repairing physical effects, and continues with counseling (and possible, temporary, drug therapy).

For older patients, with a long history of anorexia or bulimia, it's generally on the longer end of the scale. Even that can vary enormously. Motivation is critical in every case. It's the largest factor in the length of treatment for any eating disorder.


There is realistic hope, based on long and extensive clinical history, for successful recovery for anyone who wants to change. Even those who — initially — believe they are the exception, doomed to failure, can become healthy.

Many successful therapists specializing in eating disorders know that large, long-term change is easier when it's divided into smaller, more readily achievable steps.

That first step — recognizing the problem — is the key to a successful eating disorder treatment. Anyone who has asked these three common questions is already there.

Author's Bio: 

The above article is based on the book, "Winning Overeating" by Ofira Shaul. Ofira is a Naturopathy doctor .This experiential, self-development leader has devoted her life to finding the best natural way to obtain permanent weight loss while improving the total quality of your life. Her all-natural program does not require you to use any pills, count calories, or starve yourself.
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