Compare Medication and Cognitive -Behavioral Approaches to Treating Eating Disorders
Why do we need to Compare Medication and Cognitive -Behavioral approaches to treating anorexia nervosa? The fact is that anorexia can be treated using several approaches. But the treatment must be individualized. One person might respond to a cognitive or behavioral approach to treatment, while another person would not. Even when the treatment works for some individuals, it may not work for others. This is precisely why it is so important that the appropriate Cognitive -Behavioral approaches are used in order to treat this disorder.
Anorexics are people who have a psychological or emotional disorder involving extreme preoccupation with weight, body shape, or overall appearance. Many people with anorexia feel depressed, lonely, and frustrated because they are dissatisfied with some of the superficial aspects of their bodies (like height or weight). People with this disorder also have unrealistic expectations about how they should feel or how much food they should consume. For example, some assume that if they maintain a certain body weight, they will feel happy, secure, and attractive. Because of these unrealistic expectations, they continue to suffer from serious emotional problems and engage in self-destructive behavior like overeating and compulsive over-eating.
There are a number of different approaches that psychiatrists and psychologists use in the treatment of this condition. Some of them are called cognitive treatments or CBT. These approaches are usually based on the idea that our brains function like our computers. When we overload our brains with negative stimuli (especially negative thoughts) for prolonged periods of time, our brains ‘switch off’ those thought patterns and our cognition and behavior become dulled and ineffective. In other words, cognitive therapists and doctors try to cure people’s minds by removing the constant stimulation they receive.
One popular cognitive approach is called Habit Reinding Therapy. Under this strategy, patients are taught how to recognize triggers that cause urges to overeat. For example, the patient is taught to mentally repeat the word “banana” over again as a trigger to their over-eating experience. In order to make this trick work, the patient must first learn to mentally repeat the word “banana”, which could take up to 10 minutes per day. This may not sound like a major breakthrough, but for someone with binge eating disorder, it’s a major improvement.
Another approach used in conjunction with medication is called Habit Reversing Hypnosis. In this approach, a hypnotherapist hypnotizes the patient by playing tapes of pleasant, relaxing music. The therapist then uses affirmations and other verbal techniques to help the patient replace unhealthy negative thoughts with positive, realistic statements. Because medication normally affects brain chemistry in the same way that habit training affects the way you feel, the patient typically begins to feel better immediately following their first session.
A newer treatment, called Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), applies psychological methods to eliminate undesired behavior. By applying techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming, patients can change patterns of bad thinking and replace them with more healthy, realistic ones. An NLP practitioner might use NLP in addition to traditional medication and therapy approaches. NLP can be very effective, especially when combined with dietary changes, lifestyle changes, or exercise. It is not, however, suitable for everyone.
One of the most common side effects of taking medication for an eating disorder is the fact that it may mask symptoms. In addition, most people tend to see results from medications for a short period of time, even if they continue to struggle with their eating disorder. Medications, most especially those used to treat depression, also have serious withdrawal effects if not taken properly. In addition, the majority of medications for disorders like bulimia use relatively strong active ingredients. The FDA has even approved a new class of prescription drugs called anorexia/bulimia medications that are less likely to have harmful side effects and that are more likely to produce results.
The best choice for anyone who suffers from an eating disorder is to seek treatment with a doctor of naturopathic medicine. Such a physician will consider all of the patient’s concerns about his or her particular case and prescribe medications that will help the patient to improve his or her quality of life. Patients should be sure to tell their physicians about any underlying medical conditions they may have, such as heart problems or diabetes, as these conditions can affect the effectiveness of medications for an eating disorder. The medications may also be accompanied by complementary therapy, which can help the patient to learn more about his or her illness and to provide encouragement and motivation.