Eating Disorders and Food Addiction

Eating disorders, Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa and Binge eating continue to accelerate in numbers in our world today. Food addiction, defined as being addicted to specific food substances such as sugars, refined flours and fats, creates obesity which lead to other long term health problems. The issues surrounding weight control are many and may include fad diets, excessive exercise, body image disturbances, emotional dysregulation, self-destructive behaviors, distorted thinking and perceptual patterns, feelings of being unworthy, unloveable, and dissociative qualities tangential to their history of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Eating Disorder sufferers and Food Addicts have a multi-layered condition that requires a multi-faceted treatment approach. First I work with clients to educate them about the nature and ramifications of their eating and weight issues. We go over their food plans and I refer them to nutritionists and dieticians to help them develop healthy menus. I believe creating a team of professionals to support these clients is vital to their success. After the physical dimension of treatment is addressed we begin to explore the mental and emotional disturbances that can develop. I combine a Psychodynamic approach with Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, Gestalt therapy, bodywork, visualization techniques, expressive therapies and group work to facilitate their healing process. It is common to deal with resistance during the therapy process. I believe gentleness is needed as so many of these clients are already tough on themselves and strive for perfection. Ongoing connections with others keeps these clients out of isolation and on a productive healing path. The involvement in 12 step programs such as Eating Disorders Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous provides an easy avenue for a system of automatic support. I encourage clients to never give up as they courageously find what works for them.