Alternative Treatments for Eating Disorders

Written by Kimberly Holland | Published on November 26, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, FACP on November 26, 2014

Alternative Treatments for Eating Disorders

Treatment for an eating disorder differs from person to person. A combination of traditional and alternative treatments may be used. The type of treatment used will vary based on the person’s situation, dedication to getting well, and personal history with the eating disorder.

What Lifestyle Treatments May Help Me Recover from an Eating Disorder?

An important part of recovering from an eating disorder is learning how to maintain better overall health. The following lifestyle decisions may be useful in this goal.

Be Dedicated to the Treatment

Sticking with scheduled meetings, therapy sessions, meals, and activities will help you avoid straying back into unhealthy behaviors.

Practice Self-Care

Accept responsibility for getting well and help your body heal. This can be an important part of recovery. Work with a doctor or nutrition specialist to make sure your diet is adequate.

Engage in Social Activity

Feelings of isolation may drive an eating disorder. Make plans with friends and family members who are willing to help you recover. They will help you stay dedicated to treatment.

Learn Appropriate Coping Techniques

Certain situations or feelings may trigger an urge to return to previous patterns. Work with a therapist or doctor to learn coping strategies. Use these when you feel tempted or realize you’ve started engaging in some of the same unhealthy behaviors.

Reach Out to Others

Ask your local hospital or mental health office for a referral to a group therapy session for people recovering from an eating disorder. Talking with others who are facing similar struggles may help you both stay encouraged. You will also have a place to turn to if you have any questions about treatment.

Seek Out Professionals

Your doctor, therapist, or other medical professional can help you establish new, healthier fitness routines. They can also help you find sources of practical, medically sound advice.

What Alternative Treatments May Help Me Recover from an Eating Disorder?

As with other conditions, alternative treatments can be both helpful and detrimental to your recovery. Discuss any alternative treatments you wish to use with your doctor and therapist. They may want to supervise the alternative treatments to make sure there are not any adverse side effects or potential problems.

No alternative therapy has been found to be as effective as more traditional techniques like psychotherapy, medication, and education when it comes to treating an eating disorder. However, the following treatments may be beneficial for helping treat behavioral, emotional, or mental factors that contribute to eating disorders:

  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • biofeedback
  • chamomile tea
  • yoga
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