Compassionate and Professional Interventions for Your Family Member or Loved One’s Eating Disorder
Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating patterns and behaviors. These vary from following strict diets or binge eating in secret to self-inflicted throwing up after meals and obsessively counting the intake of calories. It is extremely difficult to watch someone you love actively damage their health and well-being – especially when, on the outside, the solution seems to be so simple.
Eating disorders are far more complicated than unhealthy eating habits. They typically stem from an attempt to self-regulate emotional difficulties. A person with an eating disorder is likely to be self-critical and have distorted thinking and attitudes toward body image, food, and weight. It is these negative thoughts and feelings that actively fuel the self-damaging behaviors.
Over time, those struggling with an eating disorder often lose the ability to view themselves objectively. Their obsessions with weight and food can begin to dominate their lives. This makes it difficult for people to reach out for the help necessary. While you cannot force people with eating disorders to change, you can offer support and encourage treatment in healthy and hopeful ways.
You may be unsure how to help your loved one to overcome their eating disorder, specifically how to encourage eating disorder treatment effectively. If this sounds familiar, Feinberg can help kick-start your loved one’s recovery process.
Key Signs an Intervention Is Needed
An intervention for your loved one’s eating disorder may be necessary if you notice some of the following signs and symptoms. It’s important to note that even if a loved one displays more than one of the following symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they are suffering from an eating disorder.
Many people actively worry about what they eat, how they look, and how much they weigh. Identifying the difference between eating disorders and non-clinical issues, such as excessive self-consciousness, can be challenging. Nevertheless, there are some key eating disorder symptoms you can watch out for:
- Restricting food intake or extreme dieting
- Binge eating
- Purging – disappearing after meals or frequent trips to the bathroom
- Significant weight loss or weight that is constantly changing
- Extreme preoccupation with body weight
Several eating disorders come with different health risks, symptoms, and treatments. Eating disorders include but are not restricted to binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. As part of the planned approach to the intervention meeting, your interventionist will ensure that you are fully informed of the specifics of your loved one’s condition. You will have plenty of opportunities to ask about anything you are unsure about.
Seek Treatment Options
The goal of an intervening for your loved one is to follow through with eating disorder treatment. The treatment should be specific to the eating disorder, as binge eating disorder will require a different approach to anorexia nervosa, for example. Your Feinberg team will take the family through the best for your consideration.
Eating Disorder Treatment
Our team of experts is committed to the health and well-being of you and your family. We will work closely with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan for your loved one that promotes lifelong healing. We will also help arrange psychological treatments for any mental disorders or substance abuse issues that may be co-occurring alongside the disordered eating.
A key part of the intervention process is finding the right level of care for your loved one. Below are some of the options available, depending on your loved one’s condition and personal needs.
- Outpatient Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment
- Residential Treatment Program
- Intensive Treatment
At Feinberg, we will use our extensive knowledge of eating disorder treatment programs and teams to match your loved one to the best type of rehabilitation in the best possible treatment center. Treating eating disorders is more than possible, and with the right help and support, your loved one can begin their journey to recovery.
Psychological therapies are the most important part of eating disorder treatment and involve your loved one seeing a psychologist or other mental health professional on a regular basis. Treatment for eating disorders can involve a combination of different types of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the best-studied treatment for eating disorders. Enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on identifying and addressing different symptoms and on changing problematic behavior.
Family Based Treatment (FBT)
While CBT has been found to be the most effective form of treatment for adults, family therapy or family-based treatment has been found to be effective in the treatment of eating disorders in adolescents.
Other Therapies for Eating Disorders
Alongside CBT and FBT, other forms of psychotherapy that have been proven to be successful include:
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Interpersonal psychotherapy
Registered dietitians and other health specialists can help your loved one by developing a plan to reach and maintain healthy eating habits. Understanding nutrition is an important step in recovery from an eating disorder.
While medications cannot cure eating disorders, they can help reduce symptoms of a co-occurring mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat eating disorders.
Life After Intervening
An intervention aims to ensure that the person struggling with an eating disorder accepts the recommended level of care and treatment. Our team will guide individuals and their family members throughout the recovery journey. We also offer a family coaching service to help family members learn how to empower their loved one’s recovery. This can also help the family heal after the many months or years when their loved one’s destructive condition was all-pervasive in their lives. If you believe that a loved one has an eating disorder and you are worried about their health, we are here to support you. You do not have to go through this alone. At Feinberg Consulting, our exceptional team of experienced and trained professionals is committed to helping you and your family. We will work alongside you to create a successful treatment plan that promotes lifelong healing, health, and recovery.