Eating disorders counseling focuses on the nutritional and physical aspects of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Barbara Cox works with a team of professionals which may include a physician, therapist, psychiatrist, and family. Nutrition therapy for eating disorders is provided in either private or group therapy. A non diet approach which promotes eating intuitively is used in the recovery of eating disorders. Eating disorders involve serious psychological and physical disturbances that can have life threatening consequences. Eating disorders always require professional help. Nutrition therapy required depends on the type of eating disorder present. There are four different types of eating disorders.
- Anorexia Nervosa
Nutrition therapy provides clients with knowledge and skills which will help to feed the body for physical recovery. Nutrition therapy for anorexia nervosa includes working in conjunction with the M.D. and mental health therapist to keep nutrition stores and weight at a healthy level. When a minimum intake of major nutrients is not met, it can impede recovery, making it difficult to make progress with emotional therapy. Malnutrition can promote a rapid weight and muscle loss, and can weaken the heart and eventually cause sudden heart failure and possibly death. Nutrition therapy can help to stabilize clients physically while physical and cognitive function improve.
- Bulimia Nervosa
Nutrition therapy for bulimia nervosa involves educating the client of the physical dangers of the binge-purge cycle, while helping them to achieve a normal relationship with food. In conjunction with the mental health therapist, nutrition therapy can help to eliminate bingeing, purgeing, intense feelings of shame, and the obsession with food and weight. A non diet method is used in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. Frequent purgeing can result in a very low potassium level in the blood, which can cause heart arrhythmias and sudden heart failure, possibly resulting in death.
- Binge Eating Disorder
Nutrition therapy for binge eating disorder can help clients to decrease consumption of large volumes of food (binges) while lowering health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and heart disease. In conjunction with the mental health therapist, nutrition therapy can help to establish a normal pattern of eating and eliminate or decrease frequency of binge eating. Non diet therapy and a moderate activity plan can help these clients to lose weight slowly and permanently.
- Disordered Eating (abnormal eating which does not fall into the above 3 categories)
Since there tends to be a lot of fear involved with eating disorders, the pace of progress may be slow at first and will require communication with other members of the professional team.