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How effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for eating disorders?

It can be very effective and research has shown it to be effective, particularly with binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa.  It targets thoughts and feelings with a goal of changing behavior and in this case, eating behaviors such as binge eating, purging or other compensatory behaviors. It also gets at our thinking about body image issues and focuses on helping the client become accepting of her body so the focus moves away from chronic body image focus and shape focus and moves to a place of healthy eating and acceptance.  Ideally the CBT is also coupled with things like nutritional counseling, and in some cases group therapy.  Treatment of eating disorders can be a challenge for clinicians and clients alike, and CBT does represent an excellent strategy for certain types of eating disorders.  Keep in mind, relapse is not unusual in eating disorders and the key is to get back into therapy and keep at the mind work involved in managing these kinds of behaviors. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.