Treating Eating Disorders

Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. All involve eating patterns that can harm your health and can greatly disrupt your life. For most people, treatment can help. Consider talking to your doctor, nurse, school counselor or someone you trust. The first step is finding the guidance and support you need.

What causes eating disorders

Right now, no one knows just what causes eating disorders. They occur in some half million people, mostly young women. These disorders don't just affect your body, they also affect the way you feel about yourself. For you to become healthy, your body and emotions both need care.

Healing your body

If you're weak, ill, or very thin, you may need to be in the hospital for a time. You'll eat healthy foods so you gain weight and become stronger. You'll also learn the best way to eat once you're home.

Healing your emotions

You might talk with a therapist about your feelings, your family or the problems in your life. This can help you understand how emotions affect the way you eat. You'll also learn how to change your eating habits and cope with stress. In time, you'll likely start feeling better about yourself. Sometimes you may also take certain medications. These may make you feel less depressed. They may also help you stop binge eating and purging. Some medications may help you worry less about your weight.

Looking toward the future

Sometimes people with eating disorders get better for a time. Then they may start having problems again. If this happens to you, tell someone right away. In most cases, you'll stay healthy for years, but you may need some extra help now and then.